I’ve been reading the book “Lament for a Son”* which is a compilation of Nicolas Wolterstorff’s journals dealing with the death of his young adult son. I highly recommend it as a book for grieving parents but also think it could speak profoundly to those who are trying to understand or relate to a grieving mother or father.
After writing my “Three Categories” blog I happened upon this excerpt from the book that speaks directly of the thoughts I was trying to convey a couple days ago; it resonates significantly with my heart.
“The world looks different now. The pinks have become purple, the yellows brown. Hymns and psalms have reordered themselves so that lines I scarcely noticed now leap out. Photographs that once evoked the laughter of delighted reminiscence now cause only pain….
Something is over. In the deepest level of my existence something is finished, done. My life is divided into before and after. Something is over.
Especially in places where he and I were together; a moment in our lives of special warmth and intimacy and vividness, a moment when I specially prized him, a moment of hope and expectancy and openness to the future: I remember the moment. But instead of lines of memory leading up to his life in the present, they all enter a place of cold inky blackness and never come out. The book slams shut. The story stops, it doesn’t finish. The future closes, the hopes get crushed.
So it is with all memories of him. They all lead into the blackness. It’s over, over, over. All I can do is remember him. I can’t experience him. The person to whom these memories are attached is no longer here with me. He’s only in my memory now, not in my life. Nothing new can happen between us. Everything is sealed tight, shut in the past. I’m still here. I have to go on. I have to start over.
Sometimes I think the happiness is over for me. I look at photos of the past and immediately comes the thought: that’s when we were still happy. But I can still laugh, so I guess that isn’t quite it. Perhaps what’s over is happiness as the fundamental tone of my existence. Now sorrow is that.
Sorrow is no longer the islands but the sea.”
*Thank you Rinette and Aunt Sue for the book!