Unimaginable Agony

How do you cope with the tragic death of your child? YOUR child! Your CHILD!

It’s counter to the natural order: the old should go first, parents before the children. As we age, thinking of how our children may be saddened at our death, we don’t expect them to go first.

My cousin has lost two of her children, one to a terrible illness that caused intolerable suffering, making death a release, the other to a sudden brain haemorrhage; so sudden, death was virtually instant and no lengthy suffering. Both natural causes, if that can be thought to lessen the pain. Her anguish as a mother was great.

But I cannot imagine the ordeal a friend is going through today, as he has to go and identify the body of his daughter killed in a fire in her home while she slept. It was an accident. Does that make it easier? Does that alleviate the gut-wrenching agony of seeing his child – yes, she was an adult, nonetheless his child – lying lifeless, disfigured?

My friend is a reserved Englishman; he will not scream and writhe and twist his features into grimaces of grief. He will look at his daughter – at what was his daughter – and he will nod. Perhaps he will find the strength to speak. Yes, that is my daughter, K. Then he will go home again.

I cannot begin to imagine his pain.

How do you cope with the tragic death of your child?


3 thoughts on “Unimaginable Agony

    • It turned out that there was enough evidence to identify the body without her father having to go through that ordeal. But the pain is still beyond my imagination, too.

  1. Thanks for this post, Cat. I only came across it today. Yes, it hurts to just read about these instances of children dying before their parents. Peter and I suffered this fate only a few months ago. Our daughter was nearly 55 at the time. Her death came suddenly. We believe she didn’t suffer. She died when she was most happy. That it happened the way it did was probably for a reason. This is how I feel it. This daughter was left a quadriplegic with breathing difficulties after the polio epidemic of 1961. That she survived this as a four year old was a miracle. She struggled, struggled all her life to overcome her disabilities. Because of her strong will she managed to make the most of her life, which we regard as having been a very long life. No medical person ever believed a woman this disabled would be able to live for this long.
    All her family and friends miss her very much. Her death came as a shock to everyone. Still life goes on. People talk about heaven. I don’t usually talk about such things. But there’s no better way to describe where beautiful, loving Gaby is now,.I feel she is in heaven still loving everyone.

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