Death in Parenting

This article is not about the physical death of a child. I mean no disrespect to those who have literally, physically, suffered the death of a child. If you have, my heart of hearts is with you.

I'm the father of three girls, ages 10, 14, and 18. I'm writing this blog post to express my mourning over the death of each of them. Again, not their physical death, bear with me...

This post has been simmering for quite some time, it may be hard to read, to understand, to swallow, but it is from the heart. What you are about to read is based more on my emotional state as a parent than on logic. This is simply how I feel, and feelings don't always make a lot of sense...

My oldest at 3.
I now have an adult child...an adult! She may still be in school, and not allowed to drink alcohol yet, and always be my baby, but in the eyes of the law she is an adult. My middle child is now wearing make-up. And my baby, well, she is no longer a baby. Where has the time gone?

My middle at 3.
Photos have always been a huge part of my family life. Both my parents and my Aunt Ann took great care to capture life's precious moments on film. As a child I hated this. I hated having to pose for so many pictures but as I grew I figured out why they did that, or so I thought. I'm sure they wanted to visually remember a time that is long gone but I think it's even deeper than that, as I am learning now, as a parent.

I find myself looking at old photos often. Looking back at my girls when they were little princesses, when they would hold my hand, when they would all go fishing with me, when they would ask me to read to them, when, when, when...

I look at those old photos, remember those old memories, and I mourn.
My youngest at 3.

And when I say mourn, I mean that in every sense of the word. I look at those little faces in those photos and mourn over the death of someone that I will never see again. That little girl is gone.

Gone.

Dead.

Never to be seen or heard from again.

I know, that sounds harsh, but for me, it's important that I call it what it is.

Death.

In no way am I taking away from the amazing people that they have turned out to be. I wouldn't trade who they have become for a single moment with their younger selves...and yet...I return to these photos often, and I mourn.

Like Rachel of long ago, I am not looking to be comforted. I simply want to name my grief.

And maybe, name it for others.

"A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and much grieving.
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she did not want to be comforted,
because they were no more."
Matthew 2:18


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