welcome to the order of the anguished hearts

Today, I am attending the memorial service of another boy born in early September, another boy robbed of so many years by the beast that is leukemia.

Last week, Jodi and I sat with his mother and talked about today’s service. We discussed how to distill an entire life into a eulogy of just fifteen minutes, how to memorialize a sixteen-year-old whose every year is engraved into her heart. It’s an unwelcome task, but it is one of the last acts of love of a bereaved mother.

When her boy died, when we learned that he had peacefully slipped away after he so bravely opted to end his treatment, we knew we would have to welcome her to this wretched club, this sisterhood of mothers in agony, people who know a pain so penetrating, so complete that it should surely kill us.. And we did; we welcomed her with snacks and tears and hugs and the sort of laughter one needs to buoy the heart just a little because one dare not let it sink all at once into the inky, weighty waters of this loss.

I ache for our new member as she walks through this day–the most awful initiation a club ever had. I grieve for her boy and his too-short life, and I grieve for her and the long, long days of missing him.

11 thoughts on “welcome to the order of the anguished hearts

  1. As another mother of a September son
    Birthed in loving joy died too young
    I’ll hold this mother, although I don’t know her name
    As I light my precious funereal flame
    I’ll think of we mothers as we relearn our life
    Without our boys, our life’s delight
    I’ll never forget my farewell to my son
    I played Peter Paul and Mary’s Day Is Done

    With loving empathy
    Tricia x x x

  2. There simply are NO words. My am so sorry for ALL of your losses; each and every parent who
    ever lost a child before it was time…

  3. My mother lost her son to cancer a week after his 50th birthday…it’s never easy no matter what age. I’m so sorry another mother is going thru the pain of losing their sweet child. Please give her a hug for me.

  4. I am so sad for her loss and so appreciate your willingness to open up your arms and embrace her in this pain. It seems to me that there are few who can continue to feel the pain of their own experience as they open their hearts to experience the suffering of others. It’s a very real gift but not an easy one to carry. As always, your writing is exquisite even as it sears open hearts. Thank you.

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