When death cuts like a guillotine

I was amazed at the number of responses from my post yesterday. I had by far the highest single post viewership since I started blogging here and I want to thank all of you for your e-mails and Facebook posts. Feel free to post your comments here, for some reason people are not yet picking up on the idea that once you are here you can leave your comments on the blog, but you can do whatever you want.

Based on the reaction from yesterday, I can tell that several of you have also lost a child at some point in your life. And that may be a reason why this touched a nerve with so many of you. Death is already impossible to deal with but death of a child tends to make us plunge into oblivion. Faith or no faith, you will falter and you might cry out for mercy. No one can withstand alone the blows of a death that could possibly be avoided. No one can escape the regrets. No one has survived it unscathed.

My friends Jim and Stephanie Fish find themselves in that sea of grief today. I just attended the memorial service for their son, Evan Fish, who died a tragic death last week at the tender age of 21. No words can describe the range of human emotions present in that room in our church today. I compare it to cutting raw flesh. If you’ve ever had a razor accidentally penetrate your flesh you will know what I am talking about. But instead of a razor, think of the blade of a guillotine severing not only your head, but cutting through your soul bit by bit. That is the nature of the torture that comes from the tragic death of a child.

There are too many “if I had’s,” “if I had not’s,” “if I should’ve,” “if I sould’ve not” to drive anyone insane. No  matter how many times you try to put the puzzle together, the pieces are always missing and though you might try a life time would not be enough to figure out what could have been.

The biggest mistake I made with regard to my son was to think that somehow I was immune to that kind of suffering. There are people who, having looked upon the suffering of the world, conclude categorically that there cannot possibly be a God. They cannot see any meaning in suffering. That is no different from the mistake I made. But remember: the fact that YOU can’t see any meaning in suffering does not prove that there can’t be any meaning in suffering. My son’s death strengthened my faith and built character in me. It brought me closer to God and to my family. It allowed me to be in the most vulnerable position I had never been — one of a fragile, shattered vase that needed to be put together by forces other than his own intellect and charm.

These were Jim’s words to me today,  “I would lie to you if I said I am not struggling,” but then he added, “But I am trying to bring glory to God through all of this.” God will get the glory, my friend, just keep being real and don’t be afraid to grieve.

Ivanildo C. Trindade