Thursday, March 9, 2017

Because We Should Stop

As writers, we're supposed to take everything in, and pull from our memories, from our heart, and weave together associations through sentences that bridge the gap between the experiences we've all had, and the ones only some ever endure.  Yesterday, a friend on Facebook announced her son battled demons and lost.

I know countless mothers who hold their breath at such stories, because thus far, their children have won, but there's always the chance tomorrow, it will be them taking down the body of the child they carried, because they weren't there at the right moment to make sure this horrible moment didn't happen. 

The internet makes us voyeurs into each other's lives, it can even create real relationships, but it won't let us be flesh and blood to those friends when flesh and blood is what aches. Her heart's cry pierces the internet, because it cannot be answered. It cannot be comforted, not by anything here.
Suddenly, the internet revealed in addition to being a community, it is dust and amusement. We can be cheerleaders and encouragers, we can even be provocative, but what we can't be, is anything other than virtual in this moment when tangibility means everything, because death is such a tangible, bodily thing.

There are no words to give to a mother who found her son hanging in the garage other than, "I'm so sorry."

These sort of moments, the only appropriate response is to give some tangible form of a hug. Food. Watching her little ones. Offering to help with the mass, anything. Instead, I'm here, my thoughts churning over the children I work with, my own children and their trials, and over her. The rosary in my fingers feels inadequate, and yet I know she holds to it too, along with her other children who must also weather this terrible pain. They hold to it like a safety rope, and I want it to be for them. I have to hope it is.

Everything feels too new, too raw, too simple, too pat to be real. This unreality feeling, facing the deepest and worst we can face, will even make the sounds of cars and doors and phones and the television feel alien. Music will cut the air, and conversations buzz through without leaving an impression. As I feel the round beads in my hands, the realness of her raw reality works against allowing me the comfort of doing the familiar. It must. It is immediate. It is too soon. It is too near.
Her pain cannot be rushed or wiped away or easily healed; it must merely be endured. The rosary too, cannot be rushed, not if it is to be prayed. She will grope through the grief. We will all grope through prayers, hoping to add to the graces she receives, and lighten something of the hard cross she carries. So I'm praying for all of the trials to come, for her to feel as she should, and for the whole rest of the world to stop, and be gentle as it can for as long as possible, to give her leaking heart time to be bound.

My friend Simcha has details on how you can give tangible help. Please keep their whole family in our prayers.

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