Monday, September 06, 2010

Shared Suffering

The other day I heard a moving story on NPR. Maybe you caught it too. In it, one man spoke about his participation in a group called "The Compassionate Friends" which is composed of parents who have lost their children to death.

Yes, one of those groups "to which none of its members want to belong." But since they have not been able to avoid this excruciating situation, they find comfort and meaning in one another's company. A fellowship of shared suffering.

Most struggle with a strong sense of personal guilt. How had they failed to protect their children? Why couldn't they die in their place?

As with any catastrophic loss, the pain doesn't ever go away.
"Mitch Carmody of Minnesota, whose 9-year-old son, Kelly, died of cancer in 1987... said he felt burdened by the pressure to get over the death of his son for 10 years, until one day he looked at a photo of Kelly and fell to his knees and wept. 'Our child dies a second time,' Mitch said, 'when no one speaks their name.'"

Powerful stuff. Read or listen to the story on NPR: Now We Are Alone - Living on without Our Sons.

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