I haven't been very good at posting my blogs lately. I have a lot of half-written posts (that I will finish). But today is my friend's daughter's funeral, and that deserves a post. I've found it difficult to say things some days, because what is there to say when a baby has died? Nothing else stacks up to that.
So, before the service, on a beautiful sunny afternoon, we went for a walk. It was striking, the bright blue skies, and the leaves that are finally starting to change. It's taken a long time for the fall colours to come this year, and I'm still surprised that so many of the trees are full of bright green leaves.
The cycle of life and death is witnessed every year. Spring's new life bursting forth. Summer's growth and maturing. Autumn's dying, and winter's rest. It's familiar to us all.
We may have a preferred season, a time during the year we look forward to and enjoy more than others. And although we look forward to that time, we understand that the seasons cycle.
My grandmother passed away in February. Last week, October 18th, would have been her 94th birthday, and it was strange to be reminded of her birth, of her life, of her death. She lived a good, long life. She had three children, five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, many more step-grandchildren, as well as many friends she regarded as family. The last few years of her life saw her decline. The last time I saw her was in May, 2015. We had a lovely visit, but she was not herself. She couldn't remember things, she didn't enjoy beating me at cards with the same vigour as she always had. When she died, we were sad, but it was her time to go.
How do say good-bye to someone you've never met? We don't have memories of little Mia. How do we comfort those left behind, when the one moving on had just arrived? There are all of the ideas of the child being in heaven, of being in a place where there is no suffering, and this comforts some. We have a word for wives who have lost their husbands; widows. We have a word for husbands who have lost their wives; widowers. We have a word for children who lose their parents; orphans. But what do you call a parent who has lost a child? There is no word in our language, and so we don't talk about it.
But it is a tremendous loss, and needs to be talked about. The death of a child feels out of order, just as spring is arriving, it's suddenly winter. I don't know how to make sense of this, and I know that there are no words to make it better. Today I simply recognize this loss, and I grieve for Mia, and for her family.