I’m not back from vacation yet, but I just have to blog.
Mary died. It wasn’t unexpected. Death, when expected, can be easier. At least for me, looking at death in an almost clinical, professional capacity.
However, on Monday, I got an absolutely heartbreaking phone call. We were on our way to the beach when my cell rang. I supposed it to be a call from Mary’s family, but it wasn’t. It was news that a little boy from my most beloved congregation had been killed. His mother accidentally backed over him in a truck. He was only about 10 weeks younger than Linnea, and just the sweetest little boy! He looked just like his daddy, with a wide mouth and a smile that took up most of his face. His two older brothers and older sister adored him, and would carry him proudly around the church, proudly take care of him during services, and did everything that amazing big brothers and sisters should do.
God. The grief was (and is) so intense. And I felt so freaking impotent, a thousand miles away from the people that needed me to be there. And I felt both incredibly guilty that I still have Linnea, and incredibly thankful that I still have her. I start thinking that life has guarantees, you know? That babies will grow up and learn to drive and go to prom and get married and have babies themselves. But there’re no guarantees. I talked to Dawson’s mom on the phone–if you could call it talking. It was more sobbing together than anything else. His funeral was on Thursday…all of the “official” doings of death will be done and overwith long before I’m able to get to his family, to be with them.
There are times when I really hate my job. Like right now. Like knowing I’m going to have to walk into a house that until just five days ago was full of toddler mischief and laughter and learning, and that now: isn’t. Like knowing that I’m going to have to look at a mother and father who have just suffered the most horrendous loss a parent can imagine and SEE that in their eyes. Like times when death comes just a little too close–when I can feel those cold icy fingers touching MY family, MY loved ones, MY baby. Like those times when I can’t be clinical and professional, and say, “Oh, yes, she’s doing X,Y, and Z, death is close.” Death isn’t supposed to be close to little kids. Death isn’t supposed to take them.
And deep down inside is the unbearable knowledge that if Death can take Dawson, it can take Linnea, too. Nothing I say or do will stop it. And as a parent, that makes me want to throw my head back and howl. I mean–I don’t think I could bury Linnea. I couldn’t leave her in the cold, dark earth. She doesn’t like the cold. She doesn’t like the dark. But I don’t think I could cremate her either–how could I put her little body into the fire? But at least then I could keep her close to me. I can’t imagine a scream that it big enough to contain all that pain. I could scream until my throat was bloody, and I’d still need to scream some more.
Please, please pray for Derek, Rhonda, Jordan, Payton, and Montana tonight. And maybe for all the rest of us while you’re at it. Thanks.