Thursday, June 5, 2014

When Something Is Terribly Sad, But It's Not Your Own Personal Sad

I've written about this type of thing before.

What do you do when you hear of, or read of terrible things happening to other people? Some far away in far away lands, some closer-perhaps in the same country, the same neighbourhood, or your own community-but not in your own immediate circle of friends and family.

I think part of growing up is realizing how many bad things happen, all the time.

Life is glorious.

Every healthy day on this planet is glorious, but bad things happen to different people at different times. Every day that goes by that we have on this earth that is healthy is a blessing. Every moment we can enjoy with our loved ones is a blessing. Life is fleeting and precious.

Nobody really wants to hear about other people's problems. Of course we want to support our relatives and friends, but on the whole, people have their very own problems to deal with. Even the people who seem the most settled, the most capable, the most solid-even they have moments of anguish, moments of questioning how to put one foot in front of the other.

Last week, toward the end of the week I had a serene moment of 'there but for the grace of G-d go I'. I have lots of those.

I heard from one friend in my own, local special needs community whose son was in the hospital. I love that little guy. She had to rush him down to emergency as he turned a bluish grey, his oxygen saturation levels hovering around 54% (normal is 100% or just under, 98 or 99%). He's better now.

That same afternoon, an old friend from university told me that her brother-in-law had suddenly had a massive heart attack, he was only 54. Her ex-husband was a close acquaintance as well, but she was more my friend and in fact, he had left her a year ago after 20 years of marriage.

Today, though, I nearly came to pieces as I heard that a young boy with the same syndrome as my son succumbed to cancer. I knew it was bad, but somehow you can never anticipate the worst. I wasn't planning to cry, I don't cry that often, but I was-for a few minutes, paralyzed with sadness.

That little guy was an only child to a single mom. It is a devastating, tragic loss. A hole in the heart that can never heal. I can't bear to read any more about him, the sad could consume me. 

Another friend sent me this article, "Bury My Son Before I Die".

It's heavy, but honest and poignant.

It contained a phrase that haunts me...spending a lifetime mourning children I have never met. That really sums up what it is like when you have a child with a syndrome and bad things happen to them. They are like family.  You do mourn children you have never met. It's real. Not the teddy-bears-at-makeshift-memorial thing. It's real pain, in the heart, in the gut. In the soul.

Grief is a vacuum. You feel the need to talk, or to tell someone, but the downside is it pulls people in.

It took me a few hours and a long walk to be calm in the sadness-the grief that is not my own personal loss, but a human reaction to a bereavement of the most horrible kind, and to which I have a personal connection.

It's easy to get mad at G-d sometimes. Is it not enough for children to have a debilitating syndrome, and then to further be confronted by the sinister, terrible medical issues that can spring up and attack? Isn't a disability enough, dear G-d in heaven?

Bad things happen, good is all around us.

Hug your loved ones. Do good things. Savour every moment.

Rest in peace, little Tucker.