I know grief. I have lost a child. The thought of all those parents in Connecticut—the sleepless night they just had, the despicable means of their loss—it’s too much to bear.
Yet they bear it. They bear what they cannot.
We bear what we cannot and then we get up again out of the sleepless bed and we bear it again. And again. Each day a fresh tragedy of absence, each day a new loss.
When people mourn with us, it makes the unbearable burden lighter. Still too heavy to lift, much too heavy, but infinitesimally lighter.
Then life goes on, and we get up again out of the sleepless bed and we bear the unbearable, each day a fresh loss. Each week a new pressure to live as if we are not shattered, absent.
“How are you?” again and again, a cruel question. The answer simply: “Not fine. Never again fine.”
When people remember with us, when the enormity of our unbearable burden is spoken, it allows us to take another step. To get up out of the sleepless bed one more time, to face the fresh, raw loss of another new day.
“What can I do to help?” Nothing. Nothing helps. Nothing helps, although remembering is what would help if anything helped.
Offer this: “I remember. I will not forget.” Speak their names. This week, next week, next year, every year. Often, and forever. That is how long the children live for us, those who have lost them.
Speak their names.
(For Cedar Makai Lee-Ribas)