I can’t imagine anything more painful than the death of a child.
I recently attended the funeral of a 30-year young man. I cried for Jason, for his Mom and Dad and for the possible loss I too could experience.
I know, even as time goes on, the grief that Jason’s parents feel will always be with them. And although I don’t know them very well—Jason’s Dad worked with my husband– and I never met Jason, in some small way, their grief has become mine and it will always be with me too.
Perhaps that’s what funerals do. They bind you to those who are grieving and in making room for them, your heart grows bigger.
It would have been hard not to let in the pain of Jason’s parents. They told stories about Jason that made everyone laugh and even, in this saddest of moments, their joy and amazement that they could have had such a son as Jason shone through. Thus we felt their loss.
We chuckled when we learned Jason jumped out of the school window to escape class. And again, when Jason’s Dad told us about the time he locked himself in the school principal’s office, while simultaneously locking her out. It was only after 15 minutes of coaxing from his mother that Jason deigned to open the door. I am still wondering what consequences he endured. He must have been a handful!
Jason later became a carpenter and a father who adored his daughter. Sports were his saving grace.
The music at the funeral was so perfect that I didn’t realize until Jason’s Mom told me later that some of it was his favourite music. It drove her crazy because he played it so often. The funeral opened with a ukulele rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow”, which cracked open my heart.
“Someday I’ll wish upon a star,
Wakeup where the clouds are far behind me,
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me…”
Then my heart totally fell apart when I later learned the circumstances of Jason’s death. Taking an overdose of drugs laced with unknown and even more dangerous substances at a party is no way to die. His parents were awakened by the police early one morning to learn the news.
Most young people have taken drugs at some point in their lives so they, and we as parents, are all vulnerable.
And so I walk with Jason’s parents in spirit. Not every day, not all the time. But on occasion, I am reminded of his death and their pain and I want to wrap my arms around them and let them know I care.
In memory of Jason and in support of Jason’s parents and all parents who have lost a child, listen to a very special rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” by Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole.
Jason’s parents have given me permission to post the article.
Do you have something to share about your own experience with the loss of a child? I would love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the Reply Box below.