Three weeks ago I went to the funeral of a seven-year-old, the daughter of a friend of mine. She had been in hospital for more than eight months after an operation to remove a brain tumour. I found out she was ill one day in January when I went to the hospital to visit my mom after one of her seizures, and saw a little girl weighted down by fear and grave illness. I cried with her mom at the time, and I cried every time we got an update about her status.
At her funeral, in the children’s section in the Jewish cemetery, which is the most heartbreaking and “unnatural” space to find oneself in, I cannot imagine that there was one parent there not being faced with the worst fear and thought – of losing a child. I guess funerals and death always cause us to confront new thoughts and fears, but the passing of a child perhaps forces us to go deeper, and to ask more questions.
I don’t think there are any words or religious or spiritual explanations that can make sense of any of it, for me anyway. Try as I might to find comfort or meaning in explanations like “She lived a full life”, “It was G-d’s will”, “Her time was up”, “She has another job to do” when it comes to the death of young people, I just can’t. And this isn’t even “my Loss”, nor is it my task to try find meaning or comfort.
I get that life is about suffering. I know that life is unfair. I realise there are things we aren’t meant to understand. I get that people go. But I will never understand the deal with babies and children. Ever. And I realise that there are people wiser, more religious and more spiritual than me, and I bet there are dozens of ways to understand, and feel good with those beliefs. I’m not at the understanding or belief level yet. Rather, I’m sad that life is full of these losses.
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