Grief

Grief

Reading stories like this one, always sadden me. (quick summary: a toddler dies suddenly due to a respiratory infection) Nothing is more painful to me than lives cut short. Especially children. Another element, though, comes as a reminder. The great phrase, “there but for the grace of God go I” resonates now. I look at my son and know that, despite all my efforts to protect him from enemies foreign and domestic, those efforts are quite paltry compared to the destructive forces we face. It would be easy to become overwhelmed by all this. Thus, it’s easier to focus on what I CAN do.

I know that, God forbid, my son’s death would destroy me. Shattered to dust. And though I would survive (I always have), I know that I would be profoundly and utterly different. When I think of the stories I’ve heard, of marriage broken asunder by the death of a child, I know what has happened.

Are such things God’s will? As God doesn’t chit-chat with me, I can’t answer this with a definitive “yea” or “nay”. However, I don’t believe so. Of course, I walk the edge of blasphemy with my hybrid agnotisim. Perhaps God exists with us, grieves with us. Perhaps we’re just products of a cold, uncaring universe. Neither, though, is remarkably comforting at times of deep grief. Each can, with the right mind, summon peace. I know, for I’ve seen it. Painful journeys, to be sure, but survivable ones.

These are the moments I wish I could shut my brain off, to quit asking the probing questions. For good or for ill, I can’t. However, I do have things to do.

Carl Setzer

I'm a poet and blogger from Seattle, working to build a more just, compassionate and connected community. Seeking to magnify the good, the positive as a counterpoint to all the negative the world dishes out now.

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