A few days ago a friend of mine lost a child. His grown son, himself with a wife and three sons of his own, passed out on the family room floor and died.
No warning. He was alive… and then he was dead.
I called my friend this afternoon to offer Helaine and my condolences. It was a tough call to make. This friend has been in my life over 25 years.
He was a co-worker when I arrived in Connecticut. He’s a competitor now. He was the first person to visit us in the hospital when Steffie was born. He is someone I’ve always looked up to.
He answered the phone. The voice I heard was emotionally spent. This was a conversation he’d had too many times over the last 24 hours. I worried I was keeping him in his pain by calling.
Maybe not talking is best? How can you know? Is there anything really appropriate at a time like this?
They say a child dying before his parents is the cruelest fate you can be handed. I told him there was no way I could understand what he was going through but any time a friend is hurt Helaine and I are hurt too.
My friend and his wife are people of great religious faith. As I wrote when my friend Kevin passed away, the ability to trust there is a larger purpose we can’t see or understand must provide some comfort. I envy the faithful for the emotional cover it provides them.
The wake is Sunday. We will be there.