Parents Shouldn’t Bury Children

It’s easy to say a parent should never bury his own child, but that phrase is only here because parents do bury their children.

It was a little before four when my cell phone started vibrating. I looked at the caller ID and answered immediately. It wasn’t my friend calling, but his wife.

“Is everything OK,” I asked?

It was not. My friend’s teenage son had died.

He was staying at his mother’s condo. She came home in the morning and found him lifeless in his bed. He’d suffered some medical problems before, but no one expected this.

This evening I called my friend. What do you say? There are no right words.

“I’m cried out right now,” he offered.

We both knew the crying has just begun.

I can’t put myself in his shoes, but by the time you’re a grown-up you’ve been around death too much. His grief will come in waves like the angry sea in a major storm. It will wash over him. It will flatten him. It will be relentless.

With time his grief will diminish, but it will never go away.

It’s easy to say a parent should never bury his own child, but that phrase is only here because parents do bury their children.

I don’t know what comfort I can be hundreds of miles away. There’s nothing he could ask I wouldn’t do. I plan on being there for the funeral. That’s days away, probably after Christmas.

It doesn’t make sense, does it? Death is so stupid… so pointless…. so cruel.

We will all move on, but we will be different.

6 thoughts on “Parents Shouldn’t Bury Children”

  1. When I lost both of my parents over the past few years, each was the most soul-crushing experience I’ve ever had hope to never experience again. That said, it has to be even worse to bury your own children. I know that although my parents were taken far too early in their lives (and in mine), it was the “right order.”

    My condolences to your friend and his family. I can’t even imagine what they’re going through.

  2. My father passed away a few months ago. I have experienced the grief and emotion you wrote about. I described it as living in an alternate universe on auto pilot. We are now trying to find the new “normal” without him in our lives. The pain I feel is unbearable – like having a hole in my heart. I can not imagine what your friend is going through after losing a child. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

  3. I feel like Marla has just read my mind. Every thing she says is true for me as well, except I lost my Mom. The pain of an adult child losing a parent is unbearable. To even think about that family losing their son is beyond compare. I hope they go through the motions, gain strength from their friends and that the days ahead will offer some healing. I am sorry, Geoff, for your friend’s pain. It’s nice that he has you as a friend.

  4. 34 years ago I buried my six week old son, Nicholas because of SIDS. It took several years for the grief to just overwhelm me at any given time. In 1997 my mother died because of Alzheimer’s complications. That was a rough time also however my siblings and my father had lost mom ten years before that as never remembered us before she past away. I missed my mom so much and thought life couldn’t get any worse.

  5. December 19th my twenty six year old son died at work from a truck wreck. My life has never been the same sense. Grief does come in waves. Months and years have gone by but I still miss him daily.
    My father has since passed away and I miss him so much too but my two children passing has been like a nightmare to me. There is nothing anyone can say that will ease any of the pain. Only time will ease some of ten pain. The only thing a friend can do is listen even ten years later when you’ve heard the same story over and over. Just being there with love and kindness is what helped me through. Like many people have stated. My life has forever changed.

  6. Unfortunately, death is part of life. We can’t decide when or in what form we’ll meet it, or who we’ll lose when.
    For me I have to believe there’s a reason for some things happening when they do. Part of me thinks are are really no ‘untimely’ deaths, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel a death came ‘too soon’. I think big things in life happen when they’re meant to happen we just don’t know why. We’re not meant to. I think that’s the hardest part.

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