As some of you know, I recently lost my father to cancer and my 45 day old grandson to SIDS. I can’t describe how much each of these losses hurt. For this article, I want to talk about my grandson and what his passing meant to me from a religious perspective.
After his passing, our family was shocked. Here was a 45 day old infant who had the rest of his life in front of him. He was a blank slate and my daughter (and the rest of our family) loved him dearly. I remember after his birth lying awake and imagining all the possibilities still in front of him, not knowing that in just 45 more days, my daughter would find that he’d stopped breathing.
For the funeral, we called a dear friend of the family who happens to be a Minister and asked him to officiate. I just want to say that this guy is fantastic. He’s kind, generous and does a wonderful job at his church. He also officiated at my father’s memorial service.
Be that as it may, I’m going to jump ahead to the three days of mourning. There were two days of viewings, where we were expected to hear the good-wishes of family, friends and acquaintances. It was extremely tough watching my daughter having to deal with her pain.
Many people approached me to say they were sorry for my loss and most of them told me that Keenan (my grandson) was now in heaven with my father and that he would take care of him. They also informed me that although we couldn’t possibly understand it, this was all part of Gods plan; that somehow the tragic death of a small baby was part of this all-loving Gods master plan.
I grind my teeth while writing this, which is what I did then also.
Don’t get me wrong, I know they meant well and were sincere…but…really?
The funeral was more of the same. There were a number of speeches and all of them mentioned how this was somehow planned and that Keenan was in a ‘better’ place. Some again mentioned how my father would be looking after him. I’m sure it provided comfort to some people but it horrified me.
I felt as though the loss of Keenan was being marginalized. His loss was somehow okay because I would supposedly see him again in a supernatural realm (which according to Christian theology, I won’t reach anyhow) and it was ALL part of some master plan, where a benevolent God decided that it was a good plan to grace our lives with Keenan for 45 days, and then take him away, forever leaving a void in our lives, especially my daughters and her partner.
How does any of this make sense? I’m still asking myself that question.
It was also mentioned that ‘Blessed are those who mourn – For they will be comforted Mt 5:4’.
Let me tell you, I sure as hell didn’t feel blessed. Who feels blessed when a loved one dies? Is that even possible? Should I be praising God for the death of Keenan? Should I be lighting incense or something?
In my confusion, I decided to look up this scriptural reference and found this news story:
Recently, I visited a patient paralysed and abandoned to the State’s care. Her toes had all but turned gangrene due to a lack of circulation. Six months prior, I had spent every day massaging a younger patient’s feet, one similarly paralysed, turning the feet and kneading them to promote circulation. Here, in another town, in another place, were the consequences of neglecting such nursing practice.
That night I prayed and wept deeply for this poor soul. During the visit, I had held their hands and pleaded with God to place some of their pain in me, that it may take some of their torment away. As I prayed such (silently unbeknownst to any), the patient peered into my eyes. Their hands squeezed my own. Love formed a connection.
Mourning with those who mourn.
That evening, after nearly an hour of prayer, tears streamed down my face; the pain was released to God, rather than harboured within. We see the results of containing such pain everywhere. More often than not, it eventually destroys those who carry it. It is a heavy burden to mourn without comfort.
I bolded the last part because I think it’s the key part of that whole thing – I don’t feel that it will destroy me. Yes, I feel the loss but no amount of praying with no answer, from an invisible entity who supposedly made the conditions responsible for these deaths or who supposedly planned this whole thing, is ever going to make me feel better inside.
I honestly just don’t get it. Is it just me or do others not see the inherent contradictions with this sort of thinking?