All of us experience grief. As children we see our grand parents pass. We lose our pets, great aunts and uncles. We lose games of school sports. We fail to make the team. These are the experiences that help prepare us for the more grave loss of parents, siblings, spouses. Sadly some of lose our children or grandchildren. The grief can be overwhelming. I am having on of those days. I suffer the greatest of losses.
It feels like I just have to suffer through the sadness – like this is a natural part of maturity – coping with the deepest of indescribable pain. There are times, like today, that I seem to nurture the grief. I listen to music, often sad music.
Like this, John McDermott singing “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”:
Actually I just discovered this particular video. I was listening to Joan Baez sing Battle Hymn of the Republic and followed a youtube thread to end up with The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. I sit and listen and grieve.
My personal loses seem impossible to escape. I don’t know what to do but quietly cry as I listen to the music of sadness. Much of this music is related in some way. I suppose that the greatest of grief is that which is unnecessary. War is like that, unnecessary. When our own actions lead to the loss the sadness seems compounded.
When our young die because of something so meaningless as texting while driving our whole sense of reality is jolted. How can this be? We protected that child from household poisons, from electrical sockets, from that evil stranger that lurks around the school – only to lose the child in simple inattention.
As sad as the loss of a child because of texting is the loss of a child through suicide. More so I think. Suicide is disorienting. Unfathomable. Incomprehensible. But the loss of life is just the beginning of the grief of suicide. The loss is followed by years of questioning self. What did I do? What did I miss? Was I too strict? too lax? too inattentive? Incomprehensible!
There is one loss greater than all. The death of a child’s spirit, a child’s sense of self, a loss of potential – and this because of abusive poverty and ignorance. I lost my grandson to such cruelty. He is lost. He acts out and is further shamed and humiliated. He knows that he is useless and worthless. He knows that he is not capable of any life challenge. He surrenders. He has given up. He shall live his life with a sense of inadequacy. He shall see others succeed and know that they deserve their life – and he deserves his. He has been sentenced to a life in the worst prison imaginable. He will struggle to accept any compliment because he knows that he is undeserving. Criticism will be welcomed because he knows that his worth deserves nothing more.
I grieve the loss of a child’s soul to cruel poverty, shame, and humiliation.
There is no greater sadness for me.
I have learned to weep by myself. People do not want to hear my grief. They protect their own sanity by denying the truth. They do not want to acknowledge the loss. To deny the truth is to relieve them of any responsibility. I weep for the sadness of the people in my family who choose to ignore responsibility to the children. These are the folks who take credit for anything the child does well and blame the child for any failures. They reinforce the notion that the child is incapable, that the only time the child did anything worthwhile was because of the work of others.
Do I sound angry? Well, I am. Sometimes anger is the product of grief. That anger is often irrational, a release of the pressure of sadness. And sometimes the anger is real and justified.
I weep today for the loss of a child.
Who’ll come waltzing Matilda with me?