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A Bone-Deep Sadness.

7 May 2012

Yesterday and today I attended Gabriel’s visitation and funeral. It was good to be with family. It was good to be of service. I had an uncle staying with me. I drove to and from the airport three times in three days. My family was strong and still vulnerable. I have much to learn from them.

It was a beautiful ceremony. Catholic, but without pretense to preach dogma. Simple ceremony, simple words. When we reached the grace itself, it was in a field of children’s graves. It never occurred to me that I’d see a field of stones with only one date on them. It is among the most desolate things I can ever remember seeing.

I am tired of all of this dying; too many loved ones have gone recently. I look for something regenerative. Someone I’ve been talking to about the program is making wonderful progress, though they cannot necessarily see it yet. It is so hard to see the forward steps we make at the beginning. Sometimes our most meaningful steps forward feel like retreating: admitting failure; honest defeat; accepting that we haven’t lived up to our own expectations. I wish I knew how to convey what illimitable triumphs these are.

I hope I learn from these tremendous people in my life. From leveled, ashen-faced parents and grandparents, burying their own. From a lost and weary new traveler on the road to sobriety.

Part of me wants to rage. Part to laugh. Part to weep. Each part has had its hour. And hours will turn to days. Wounds scab and slough and scar. I share in the strange majesty of each signpost passed with a friend new to the road I’ve been walking. A head bowed by grief rises with resolve.  And I take another step. And it’s easier than the last one. I am not alone.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. missmse permalink
    7 May 2012 20:52

    There are a number of support groups for families who have lost infants, including Faith’s Lodge ( also runs retreats for families who have lost children too soon. Some very dear friends lost their son to SIDS just over a year ago, and have found some solace in them. Everyone grieves differently, but you don’t have to grieve alone.

  2. 7 May 2012 21:29

    This is beautiful. And impossible to read without shedding a tear.

  3. furtheron permalink
    8 May 2012 05:58

    Very difficult to comment on but thanks for sharing… if nothing else another example of things people can go through and not have to drink

  4. sciencegeeka permalink
    8 May 2012 06:49

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. You’ll be a permanently changed person by this, but I have a feeling that it’ll be for the better.

  5. 8 May 2012 07:28

    I am so sorry. This has to be heartbreaking for all. Please take care.

  6. Penelope permalink
    8 May 2012 12:39

    Marcus’s dad died yesterday.

  7. 9 May 2012 07:26

    As I get older, I will see many more people die. If I live long like my mother, almost everyone will be gone. Right now, that makes me sad. But perhaps at an advanced age, one comes to accept death and is ready. I am sad about little Gabriel. And all those little stones with just one date.

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