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?