Shattered Lives - Part Three
(Click here for Part One and Part Two)
What do you do when lightning strikes twice?
What do you do when a brother, unable to handle the stress of his loss, is voluntarily admitted for his own safety and then found in cardiac arrest?
The full facts aren't yet known but none of it will change this: my friend has now buried both of her sons within ten weeks of each other.
I'm getting really sick of viewings: ornately decorated rooms filled with young people wearing memorial t-shirts; standing around outside funeral homes surrounded by cars with tributes written in soap on their back windows. Bodies of children I know, their faces caked with makeup in the most unnatural gray-brown tone I've ever seen, lying in boxes surrounded by white velvet padding, flowers and notes scribbled in a childish hand.
I'm getting sick of not knowing what to say, because there isn't anything to say. Of hugging sisters and aunts and cousins and grandmothers when there aren't enough tissues in the world to dry the tears that just keep coming. Of holding my friend as we take turns sobbing uncontrollably. Of trying to talk to a father of four who has seen his family literally torn in half. There is nothing to say except, "There's nothing to say."
I'm getting really tired of funerals.
This one, with a biting, wind-blown drizzle, was as cold and miserable a day as the last one was oppressively hot and muggy. The church was filled with kids who didn't quite know what they were supposed to do. There's no reason why they should. Kids shouldn't be burying their friends. And parents shouldn't be burying their children.
After losing a child, there's the expectation that things will be awful. You talk about it and you read about it. You go to counseling and support groups. You find out that everything you're going through is "normal," as if that helps. But there's also the expectation that things will gradually --oh, so gradually -- become perhaps a little less awful. The phrase "a new normal" is used, and even though you don't really know what that means, there's a sense that eventually something will change, and you won't feel quite as awful as you do now.
But then it happens again. The wound is ripped wider than before, when it hasn't even begun to heal in the first place. How do you even begin to pick up the pieces, ripped so small and scattered so widely you don't even know where to start?
I don't know.
I just don't know.