Dear One (s)
It is a horrible tragedy when a young person
dies. As parents we never expect to outlive
our children, and when the death is so unexpected it is uniquely
difficult. I have often wondered how I
would respond if I got a knock in the middle of the night telling me my child
had been killed!
I want you to know that although I cannot truly
know your sorrow, I believe you as parents, and all those who are part of your
family, must be in terrible pain. I
have no clever answer about why such things happen. I struggle with the presence of such tragedy
in the world. I suspect it is just the
way it is in a world where we are given choices, and make them. And where those around us also have choices
that can turn out tragically. It is the
way it is in a world where illness and natural disasters occur.
The only thing I can really hold on to, as I did
when my parents both died of terrible illnesses, is the fact that “nothing” as
Paul says it, “can separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus”
God loves us when we are born. As we grow up. God loves us when we do well, and
succeed. God loves us when we mess up
and fail. God loves us in our joyful
moments, and when we are in despair.
When we are children connected to God, our Holy Parent, we are
loved. When we have chosen to be “out
there” and try it “away from home”, we are loved.
When tragedy strikes and we are ill, we are
loved. When in a moment, on a dark night
on a country road, something goes wrong, we are loved. In that moment of dying, we are loved. And beyond, we are loved
I believe God loved your child, and loves your
child still, in that new place, that “something next” he/she is now
participating in. I believe God loves
you, and each person in your family who is hurting. I hope you can each feel, in some way, that
love. And find some strength and peace
in its presence.
I believe there are people around you who
care. I believe there are people around
you who are carriers of the Sacred, and who can help you find hope and
healing. My prayer is that those people
will find their way into your lives, and that you will recognize them when they
But mostly I wish for you, in the midst of this
time, God’s presence. I would like to close
by sharing with you a blessing given first (as far as I know) by John Claypool,
who also lost a child.
God go before you to lead you, God go behind you
to protect you, God go beneath you to support you, God go beside you to
befriend you. Do not be afraid. May the blessing of God the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit be upon you. Do not be afraid.