love and heretics

It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness

six years ago…

After surgery this week, when my husband was placed in recovery, with all the stuff still strapped on, (oxygen and iv fluids etc) My son broke down. This was my older son, and I did not expect it. However…He choked out these words…
“it reminds me of Lucas…”
I had not even thought…

Six years ago, I was doing homework with my then second grader. The news was on in the background. I glanced up hearing that an eight year old boy was being airlifted by Wings Air Rescue after being struck by a car on a certain street. My heart instantly sunk, I asked my son to get something from his room and pointed out the story to my husband. We knew there were many school children on that rode, even several that age…but both of us..were very afraid. He went to check out their house as they were not answering their phones. He called me to let me know their were skid marks right in front of their driveway. He was going to the hospital to check it out. I continued doing homework, still hoping we were wrong. (though for any child..being airlifted is not a good sign generally)
How could it be Lucas? My older son, then only eight, had always been extremely shy, had trouble with friends, and Lucas was his best friend. The only friend he had spent the night with, and the only one who had spent the night at our house (repeatedly). There were super tight. Lucas was the boy who stood up for My son when he was being made fun of in kindergarten. He had made kindergarten….bearable.
and still…when my husband called…
It was Lucas. We went to the hospital to be with the family. We cried together, and held each other.
And prayed together. We all went home that night believing things looked good, that the surgery went well. My kids went to school the next day believing all would be well. But after dropping them off and contacting Lucas’ mom, Her voice sounded dead. Flat. No emotion.
She said that during the night there was fluid to the brain…swelling…and he went into a coma..
That there was probably some amount of brain damage. How extensive they did not know yet.
As it turned out, they were given very little chance. They were told that perhaps hearing voices of loved ones could bring him out of the coma. They requested my son come and speak to him. His best friend…hoping against all hopes that something would get through to his vegetative body.
My son went…brave little lad. He saw all the tubes, all the life support and felt scared, and yet…stood brave. He had brought a game he spent his own money on, and talked to him, prayed for him, and asked him to wake up…so they could play together.

Lucas never woke up. The hardest thing next to losing your child…must be watching them grieve…hearing them grieve…holding them while they grieve and grieving with them. We cried together. All of us. My heart hurt so for him. What we had at the time for comfort…was that “one day we will see him again”…”he has gone to a better place”…”he is with the angels now”.

My boys became much more codependent, struggling with fear of losing all other loved ones. My youngest was only 4, well…Lucas died the day before his fourth birthday…the day before he was supposed to come over for a birthday slumber party..
He began asking..is it my turn to die? is it your turn to die? how do you know you won’t die tomorrow?
crying all the while. It affected us all. The reality of our mortality…of how easily human life could be ended was right in front of us.
We took baby steps out of the grief, together.
All the while, lucas’ mom was asking me the hard questions…
“Why?” …why my son? why does god let this crap happen? why didn’t he listen to our prayers?
why didn’t the guy see my son in time? why did the dog have to run across the road right then?
why did my son have to chase it to protect it?
why…….

All the while, my pithy answers felt hollow. They had stood the test of time in my safe bubble world.
my pat answers worked so well for so long.

I gave her the best comfort I could….by admitting that I truly didn’t know. But that I loved her, and I was…so…very sorry. I helped her write thank you notes for the flowers, I did whatever physical things I could….but I no longer felt confident in my own…”answers”…after all…I still had my son.
What right did i have to say…the “pat answer”…..besides she heard those enough from everyone else…the preachers, and all those who meant well…”god had a reason” “god must have wanted him up there with him” etc etc….

This was the thing that caused me to begin searching my questions. The thing that knocked all the questions i had put up on a shelf because “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
Now the shelves came crumbling down…all around me. the quest had begun….

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9 Comments

  1. wow…drinking my first cup of coffee a bit late..and was worried i spelt coma wrong. ::hangs head:: it didn’t appear red, but i googled just to make sure, and it pulled up people who have children in a coma. and some of those…”replies” people like to make…

    “Hi there wow you are going through alot right now and i just want to say God is there with you and he knows your heart. the first question you need to ask is What does God want you to learn spiritually. then I would say that you need …”

    wow…

  2. Hi Holly! I’m so familiar with these situations where there’s just no right thing to say. Nothing to say at all, really. But since there are just words in this particular situation, I thought I might just write it down anyway. Just to let you know I read it and I feel for all the people involved. It’s like you said: we’re all connected. But some of us just can’t be replaced…

    • very true, lively. (((hugs))) thank you for your reply.

  3. When my nephew burst into tears, when I heard him choke out those words, “it reminds me of Lucas” I honestly did not know WHAT to say. I felt so hopeless and helpless. I am so sorry. The only think I knew to do is the only thing I know to do… as we walked to the car, I just acted like it didn’t happen. I’m SO sorry. I just walked quickly, and kept looking back and asking him if I was walking to quickly… then I’d make jokes and such, and tried getting him laughing. I know this isn’t right, it’s just all I know to do… I’m the worst at funerals. When Allen’s only childhood friend passed away, we sat in the pews, and I had him snickering and giggling… it was all I knew to do… I fall short in knowing what is right, and feel so much pain at seeing someone cry. Sometimes, we just need to sit by and let people cry. In this, I tend to fall short… but, I know it is normal. I just like to see people laugh… we need to laugh. Life can be sad enough…

    To so many things, there really are no human answers, no real graspable answers…

    I understand why your search began…

    I ultimately, personally, fall humbly before the One of Whom I believe belongs all power and authority, and humbly submit…”I fail in understanding. I fall short in so many ways. Have mercy! and forgive me! and grant me the faith I need.”

    • Ah, sis..
      sometimes humor is the best medicine. After you left…he spoke about how funny you are. And he wished you lived closer. I cannot thank you enough for being there at that moment. I sorry it was difficult. I don’t know what i would have done alone…trying to hear what the nurses were saying about the hubby and letting him know we were there…at that moment…and wanting to comfort my son..and feeling torn between them…
      Comedy is often a remedy (or survival fallback) for us. It works…after that…just being there..and holding each other.
      I understand where and why you take comfort…I suppose I am more like doubting Thomas…
      still asking…and openly admitting i cannot believe without seeing…

      • I too wish I lived closer. I love you all so very dearly. I’m so glad I was there, but it was just too brief for all you needed.

        asking is okay… doubting is normal… questioning is what we do, those of us who are really alive, eh?
        But, just do not be lukewarm…”I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth…” (Rev 3:15-16).

        Whenever I question and doubt, whenever I tend to shake my fist towards the heavens, I hear God’s response to Job, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you will instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, who sets is measurements, since you know? or who stretched the line on it? on what were its bases sunk? or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?…Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place… have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.” yes… I hear this… (Job 38)… who am I to question one such as He, yet, how thankful I am for His perfect Son, who came to become one like us yet never sin, to offer Himself in our place so that we may BOLDLY approach the throne of GOD.

        We may never agree…
        I ache to know you seek the LORD and find your salvation in Him… but, regardless, I love you. you are my sister. Nothing will ever change this.

        • Hey sis, I understand why you must share. and I deeply agree on this…we are sisters and nothing will ever change this. I LOVE YOU!!!

  4. rautakyy

    I was something like fourteen when a good friend of mine got the brain cancer. He was an exeptionally talented kid, good at sports and mathematics, who was kind to everyone and allways defended the weak.

    The mother of my best friend and a neighbour to the family, that was struggling whith the disease and the knowledge of the likelyhood, that their son would propably die, told me she even got to bargain whith god to save the kid. In her mind she tried to cope whith the fact, that the kind kid who was a very good friend of her son and me would die a horrible death as a youngster… And she was allready an atheist. Had been for years, but retorted back to her childhood indoctrination in her distress – for a moment. Alas, no god listened to the prayers of this atheist neighbour any more than a god listened the prayers of that Christian family and their son died.

    We live in the knowledge of our mortality, and even the people who profess to believe their loved ones go to a better place when they die, grieve. Why? Is it because they really, honestly, sincerely have doubts about this to be true, or is it because they fear their loved ones might be sent to the other place suffering for an eternity? Or perhaps they simply mourn for their own loss. In that case what they mourn is not so different from what we atheists mourn for. When I mourn for my father who died early this year, I do not mourn about his life ending as such, as he was a very old man, who had had a good and purposefull life, but rather the fact, that I no longer have him to share whith. His pains are over, unless what he sincerely thought about gods is now being punished in eternal suffering (by the eternal mind police some religions tell us about). But when a young person dies, I mourn not only the loss I had, but also the loss of what that person could have become, and I have a doubt, that the believers have similar causes to mourn. In that respect the idea of the dead person having not really died but just trancended to some other level of existance seems like an empty platitude to me.

    Either way, for sure we no longer have that person close to us in this life, and what ever that person might have come later in his/her life is not going to happen. The understanding that this might be the only life we have, makes it far more valuable for each of us, than to really believe this is just a stepping stone to the real and actual life after death, of which we have no evidence of.

    • I have come slowly to a very similar place Rautakyy. thank you for sharing.

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