Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Simple, yet profound pain

Aside from another serious dose of nausea provided me by nameless cowards (I'll be getting into that in a later post), this day has SUCKED THE BIG ONE.

Setting aside the above nausea as mentioned, today I saw the burial of a child who lived a grand total of 50 hours. He was born with profound birth defects (essentially, no brain) to parents whom I greatly respect, through no fault of their own.

I grieve not for the child; he was blameless, innocent, and in all likelihood beyond suffering. I grieve for his family; for his eldest brother convulsed with sobbing; for his cousin whom I work with and is a tower of courage, otherwise reduced to tears during today's funeral. Most of all I grieve for his mother, the zenith of fortitude and toughness, who carried this baby to term knowing that his life was likely to be short, and certainly doomed in society's terms of "usefulness" and "quality". She made it clear early on in her pregnancy when it appeared the child was in serious trouble that all human life is sacred, and this child would have every chance to see the light of day. When a "well-meaning" doctor approached her about abortion options, she chopped him off at the knees, curtly telling him that termination of the pregnancy was not an option, and it he raised the subject again she would fire him.

I supervised this woman for five years; she is fiery, determined, stubborn and skilled, and I smiled when I found out she took a chunk out of the doctor. Having had my own pound of flesh or two extracted by her in the past (and not without reason), I would have expected no less from her.

By all accounts, she has been a pillar of strength since her son was born, holding him and cooing to him, probably unable to nurse (from what I understand of his condition, I doubt very much the child had a suck reflex), all with the serenity of the Virgin while the rest of her family collapsed in misery around her, including her Naval brother, the fireman brother and her brother who is the priest.

It was at Mass today that she finally showed some tears, and I felt wholly inadequate briefly squeezing her shoulder as I passed her after receiving Communion.


How does one comfort the grieving parent?


At this point, this ramble could easily wander into that tired, philosophical territory starring the age-old questions: "Why does God allow innocents to suffer?", or the classic: "Why does God allow some parents to bury their own children?"

Nevermind all that. Suffice to say this: The family is in grieving, and deserves our prayers. Would they recover quickly and Gracefully.

Matthew John Rodriguez, Requiscat in Pacem
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