I don’t know what to say this morning, having felt quiet for the past few weeks, tired, getting ready for Christmas, shopping, decorating, all those busy things. This morning, I don’t know what to say when, after the events in Connecticut on Friday, anything I could say seems so . . . banal. Unnecessary. I know a bit about losing a child, and today I’m going to leave you with other people’s words, words that have comforted me after loss.
From Mark Twain, who lost his daughter Susy when she was 24:
“To die one’s self is a thing that must be easy, & light of consequence; But to lose a part of one’s self——well, we know how deep that pang goes, we who have suffered that disaster, received that wound which cannot heal . . . . It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live. It will take mind and memory months and possibly years to gather together the details and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss.”
And from C.S. Lewis:
“The death of a beloved is an amputation.”
“To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg off is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he’ll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has ‘got over it.’ But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.”