I’ll have much more to say about my baby boy on his birthday, as I would much rather focus on his life than his death. But there is no denying that this day one year ago was tragically impossible. I wish I had the ability to explain what it’s like to experience the death of a child. There is just a huge hole, full of emotion but empty of words.
Sometimes others say it much better. In Jon Meachum’s book Destiny and Power, he writes about the life of President George H. W. Bush (Bush 41) who lost his daughter Robin to leukemia in 1953. When she died, Bush wrote a beautiful letter to her. In it he writes about the “need” that is in their house. How they all need Robin’s soft blonde hair to off-set the crew cuts of four boys. How they “need someone to cry when I get mad–not argue.”
The letter ends with these insightful words: “But she is still with us. We need her and yet we have her. We can’t touch her and yet we can feel her. We hope she’ll stay in our house for a long long time. Love, Pop”
Meachum writes that Bush, when reading the letter aloud to him five decades later broke down in tears long before the end, crying so hard that he had difficulty catching his breath. When I read that letter and Bush’s reaction to it, I had exactly the same response. When I wrote this, it happened again. If you’ve been there, you understand that reaction.
Thankfully most of you haven’t been there. I can’t explain it to you, and you should know there is really nothing to say. From my perspective though, your presence and thoughtfulness says it all.
…staying close when there is nothing to say. To those friends, there is no way I can THANK YOU enough.