I met someone briefly yesterday who is young and who has recently lost her two-and-a-half month old baby. She came across as someone who is stoic and who is learning to cope with her loss. Yet there, naturally, was a tinge of sadness in her eyes. I reflected on the brief conversation I had had with her as I sit down to write this morning. How can you console a mother who has lost a child?
The truth is you can’t. And you mustn’t. Not about this mother and her loss. But also about any loss, any crisis, any tragedy in Life. Life’s realities have to be faced. They can’t be justified or reasoned with.
In this mother’s case, she has to realize__and accept__that death is an integral part of Life. If you are born, you will die. You know this. But it is your expectation that Life last longer. This expectation is the one that causes you grief. The moment you drop that expectation, you will be able to deal with any loss__including death__better. A friend of mine lost his grandson within a few hours of the child’s birth. The child was born in San Jose, California. Everything was normal: the pre-delivery medical reports, the delivery itself and the baby’s condition post-delivery. Apparently the baby had suffered a heart attack as his heart was weaker than that of most infants at birth. So, one minute, my friend wrote to me over mail sharing his joy at being elevated to grandfather status. And within a few hours he wrote to inform that they had lost their grandchild. A line he wrote in his mail is worth reflecting over: “We are all still coming to terms with this. But I guess each of us has a role to fulfil in creation. Our little fellow’s was to remind us that, at the end of the day, Life is fleeting and fragile. He taught us, through his brief stay with us, to celebrate each moment of it and not to ever waste it!”
To be sure, we lose a bit of our lifetime every single day – 24 hours daily to be precise. None of us knows when we will have to depart. But know for sure that you__and I__have to depart. Someday. Our expiry dates are already set. Except, unlike in all the products that we consume, that date is not visible to us. So, here’s the choice we have to make: we can live our lives pining for all that we have lost or we can live celebrating what we still have left with us – even as our clocks keep counting down to our own ends.