If I had to describe what it is like to be the parent of a dead child, I would say this – it is to look at the world slightly differently. Some years ago, Mr. Spit was at an optometrist’s appointment, and he asked the optometrist about contacts for an astigmatism. The optometrist allowed there were such things, and held test lenses in front of his eyes. As long as the lenses were correctly orientated, Mr. Spit could see just fine. As soon as they twisted 25 degrees, everything was blurry.

The parent of a dead child weighs the world, understands the world, interacts the world just slightly differently. Some things have virtually unlimited power, can leave you gasping on the floor, and some have absolutely no power at all. And perhaps if learning to cope with grief is anything, it is learning the difference between the two.

We were leaving the movie theatre tonight, where we’d been to see Sherlock Holmes. The movie was quite good, and the cinematography, the visuals of Victorian England were astonishing. It was however, very violent. Very, very, very violent. Violent enough that my enjoyment of the movie was limited by the near constant beating of one character or another. It was gruesomely violent. The movie starts out with an almost sucessful human sacrifice.

And as we were leaving, a woman was carrying out her 18 month old little girl.

Try as I might: to be reasonable, to be rational, to be anything other than the mother of a dead child, I shake my fist at the heaven’s and ask why those sorts of people get to have children. Oh, I try to be sane and sensible. The world does not work that way. One child does not die so that another may live. The sun shines on the just and the unjust, life isn’t always fair, and, well you get the point. I try to be objective, calm.

And some times, I must admit, when I see thing that make me want to scream and tear my hair out, I have no sensible answers.  All reasonableness, all rationalization, all attempts to place myself with God’s world are simply not possible. I am reduced to shaking my fist against the sky and muttering under my breath. My heart literally hurts, that I who wants my child with me so much I can feel an ache must stand and watch a parent who cares not for theirs.

To be the parent of a dead child is this – to look at the world, with all of its complexity, with all of its ability to startle, to bewilder, to frighten and overwhelm and to know, this world is not a sane, sensible, rational or reasonable place.

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20 Responses to Changed

  1. Angie says:

    I hurt for you…

  2. HereWeGoAJen says:

    That is one of the things I struggle with most, the unfairness of the world. I see parents like that all the time and each time that I do, I get a stab in the heart that somehow they get to have children and people like you are still waiting.

  3. No, the world is not sane or reasonable, it’s an imperfect, royally effed up mess. I am so sorry you and O. have to look at the world through this dark prism.

  4. debby says:

    The world is certainly an unfair place. I remember once hearing a mother going on about her young child (6?) being terrified to sleep by herself after watching some awful movie, a slasher movie from the Friday the 13th genre of films. She was upset that her child refused to sleep alone. The fact that her daughter should have never watched such a horrible film never crossed her mind. Not once.

  5. loribeth says:

    Oh, Mrs. Spit, I can so relate. Dh & I went to see the last Star Wars movie a few years back (the last one that was made, in which Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader at the end). Abut 3/4 of the way through the movie (which was very loud), I heard a noise behind me. I turned around & there was a woman there holding an infant. A rather new baby. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The baby miraculously slept through the whole thing, but I could not enjoy the rest of the movie, waiting for him/her to start fussing. Fuming at the idiot mother who couldn’t get a babysitter, or go to one of those Stars & Strollers matinees, or wait for the movie to come out on DVD. Jealous that she had a baby, & I didn’t. You know.

    I can also remember going to see “Twister” some years back & afterwards being in the washroom where a mother & grandmother were trying to calm down a hysterical toddler. “No, the twister isn’t going to get you,” the mother said. !!! Hello, it’s obvious this was going to be a scary, nightmare inducing movie — maybe she shouldn’t have seen in the first place?

    And another time: at “The Truman Show” with Jim Carrey, & a group of about 10 boys sitting a few rows in front of us, who seemed to be around 8 to 10 years old. Obviously a birthday party. They were all laughing & restless in the way that boys that age often are, & I thought, “Oh boy, here we go…” but as the movie went on, there was silence. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but I think the kids were expecting “Dumb & Dumber” or “Ace Ventura,” which it was not. I blame the parents for not at least reading the movie reviews first before sending a bunch of 10-year-old boys off to see it.

    I could also rant about people who talk & text on their cellophones during movies, but I think I’ll stop now.

  6. Jamie says:

    I am so sorry Mrs. Spit. It would be impossible ~not~ to have those thoughts.

  7. Michele says:

    I also ask why there are folks who get to have babies who live in such bad situations, and we had to bury 3 children.

  8. Seraphim says:

    You make a powerful analogy here. For different reasons I found Sherlock Holmes almost impossible to watch because of it’s violence and I am repulsed at the idea of anyone taking their child to see it. But for you, it must sting far more than most.
    Thinking of you my friend xxx

  9. linds says:

    You are right, sometimes our world just doesn’t make any sort of logical sense.

  10. Sue says:

    This has been one of the hardest lessons for me. On my better days, I call it random; on worse days, chaos. Neither helps. I am still constantly angry.

    It’s almost as if these new lenses make clear the chaos, the not-fairness. All that we did not have to see before, did not have to integrate into our world view.

  11. Jacinta says:

    Perfectly put as always Mrs Spit. The general public – hmmmm
    I saw Sherlock Holmes after I read this post and ended up enjoying it. Not sure what the point was of the competition fight scene was.

  12. Jess says:

    It just sucks. It sucks. There’s nothing else you can say. I’m so sorry Mrs. Spit.

  13. Sunny says:

    Well said — the unfairness of it all is often overwhelming. Although I do have a child now, I feel it sharply when I witness such parental careless/selfishness myself. Both because I had to struggle so much to achieve this and want to see the gift appreciated, and because I think of all the wonderful blogs I follow by women such as yourself who long to give to a child but have not yet had the chance.

  14. Heidi says:

    That last sentence just says it all doesn’t it.


  15. Bluebird says:

    You’re so right.

    I find that I am much more sensitive to others’ parenting choices now. I have no right to judge. But it hurts my heart to see even the hint of a suggestion that they do not appreciate and cherish everything that they have – that I wish I had.

  16. Amanda says:

    What timely words for me, Mrs. Spit. I have had a week like that, too, with all the fist shaking and muttering. It’s hard to stay calm and reasonable all the time. I pray that God will understand and comfort you (and me) on these days.

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  18. Barb says:

    No sense at all. Yet completely indifferent to my anger about that……. which leaves me thinking I have to find a better response to this mess.

    Feel free to make suggestions on how to do that. I get rather stuck.

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