Duck Billed Platitudes

There is a reason that during the traditional shiva, the 7 days of mourning following the funeral of a loved one, visitors to the shiva house are not supposed to speak to the mourners. There is absolutely nothing anyone can say to someone who has lost a child that will provide one iota of solace or consolation. All words ring hollow in the face of such overwhelming tragedy. Even after the passage of time, weeks, months or years, those words ring just as hollow. We are closing in on 4 weeks since we learned of our darling Jake’s passing. Dear friends and family members try to console us with such words a “It is time for healing”, “Little by little it will get better”, “God works in mysterious ways, we can’t always know the reason”, and other such platitudes. They are trying to put a Band-aid on a severed limb. They grope for the words to help, but unknowingly, because there is no road map for them through this morass either, there are no words. No deeds. “Can I do anything” people ask all the time. There is only one thing we now want in the entire universe and no one, not even God, can do that for us now.

I don’t mean to offend anyone or hurt anyone here. That is the furthest from my intention. I am just giving you one man’s perspective on this. Everyone grieves differently, that I know. Our friends and family are grieving too, that I know as well. People want to do something in a situation where absolutely nothing can be done. Want to say something where there are no words to say. We are all so helpless.

Let’s do a little experiment here. Suppose, someone told you that from now on, for every day for the rest of your life, you would be sad. But not just bummed because they didn’t have your size in the new shoes you wanted. Gut wrenchingly, heart breakingly grief stricken. That even years from now, when you are experiencing whatever joy and happiness you have been able to wring from your life, something, a thought, a word, a song, a slice of pizza, something would instantly transport you to that place of bewilderment, ineffable loss and sorrow. Would there be anything, anything, that anyone could say to make it better? Trust me, there isn’t.

I know it is early, only 4 endless weeks. But I know that there is a space in my heart that will never be filled again. Like a lost limb, I can still feel it, even though it isn’t there. I remember so many wonderful memories, the good times we had, Jake and Terry and me. Those will never fade. But now, it is all we have. And the irony is, the memories of those great times will always evoke that sadness and longing for the good times with Jake that will never be again.

I know our emotions are very raw right now, and will be for some time. How long, I cannot say. It ain’t pretty from this side, and I expect from your side either. I just ask you to bear with us as we wander through this maze of conflicting emotions, as we try to figure out how to live our lives going forward. This will be the greatest challenge we will ever  face. We deeply appreciate all the love and support we get from our dear friends and family, we couldn’t do this without you. I am just saying we don’t always need words. Just knowing you are there for us is enough.


About edcol52

The Infinite Fountain of Love and Loss flows unceasingly into the pool of memory and sorrow. I created this blog in response to the most dreadful tragedy every parent fears, the death of a child, our 24 year old son, Jake. We are now on an unimagined journey along this road of grief and recovery. If you can find some comfort within these pages, than I will have succeeded in some small measure.
This entry was posted in Coping, Daily Ramblings, Friends and Family, Grief, Healing, Observations, Support, Tragedy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Duck Billed Platitudes

  1. Eileen Cohn says:

    Still here and listening.

  2. Anne Rodman says:

    Ed, it’s unimaginable to the rest of us. To tell you the truth, I can’t absorb it; everything since that first message seems like an old, bad, evil movie. December 31 felt like a nightmare, complete with headache and yellow lens. We are here, and that’s all. Why this had to happen to you, Terry, and Jake, I do not know.

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  4. tersiaburger says:

    I am so sorry for your awful loss. My precious child died 1 year, 1 month and 12 days ago. Every day is filled with heart wrenching, emptiness, loneliness and pain. Nothing makes sense. Nothing brings joy any longer. I have learnt to wear a mask. People cannot handle our pain and will turn their backs on us because of this. So to the world I appear to be brave, strong and recovering….Only another parent in my position will know the truth. Hugs

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  6. Four and a half years since our Yaacov died in his sleep. Sorely missed, never forgotten. Life pulls us in, curiosity and love for grandchildren, friends, sibs, family. A long, long, story of so many varieties. All of us challenged, most by many things. Grief is very hard and guilt goes hand ‘n hand.

    Love to all of us without a name, parents who’ve lost a child. Abot

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