Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sad Times Turn Tragic

Until a couple months ago, I'd gone something like twenty years years without attending a funeral. Then my uncle died in late October, and my wife's aunt died just this month. Each was a sad loss, but both had lived good lives. Neither had gotten cheated.

Late today, though, I took a call for my wife from a friend of ours. She was delivering the awful news that her second-born son, only 18 months old, had awakened with a fever that turned into febrile seizure. After a call to 911, a trip by ambulance to the hospital, and extended attempts to keep his heart pumping, he passed away.

At first, when I heard the news, I couldn't wrap my head around what she'd said. I fumbled incoherently as my brain tried to grasp the cruel impossibility of the words. After that, when I understood the truth of it, I could utter nothing more substantial than an incredulous I'm so sorry.

Words are hopelessly underpowered for some of life's challenges. What I'm left with, in their impotent vacuum, is wordless prayer... for the child, for his brother, and for his grieving parents. I will think of them constantly in the trying days ahead. And I will pray for strength for their wounded family.

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