How can I keep on living, why should I keep on living? Hasn’t every parent who has buried a child had to face those two questions and had to face the traps that threaten on the way to finding answers.
One real problem is that because the pain is so great, it shuts everything else out. Then, once you are finally recovered enough to be numb or in shock, the only way you can reach emotion is to reach into the pain. It blots out everything else and seems to be the only real emotion left.
Sometimes children will start misbehaving so that they can be punished, because the emotions tied up with punishment and sorrow break through to real emotion and let some pain out. A child can become addicted to that cycle, and it can be hard to break.
Worse for adults is becoming addicted to anger and rage and pain as the only touchstones left, ones that will swallow a man or a woman in bitterness, leaving only dregs.
It is funny, but watching The Pacifier (my five-year-old had seen it several times, so I had to see it too with her), I was brought back to the only way I found to escape the traps. In the end, the hero realizes that children and family are the only things that matter, and he choses to remain near the children and to find his own way to starting his own family. Everything returns to that, to living life outside of myself, as the real meaning and the real hope.
That pathway out and away from anger for me was by remembering my wife and children and their needs and by finding a way to keep on going to keep on for them, while at the same time keeping Paul’s warnings about bitterness in my mind. "Any root of bitterness" is how the scripture reads, warning the saints in Jerusalem against the pain and loss that the fall of the city will cause them (Paul wrote them before the city was sacked, with blood running ankle deep, and the people scattered). Justified or not, I had to let all bitterness go.
I guess I should note that this blog is about faith and hope and surviving. About the three children we buried in a five year period and about finding our way home. Some times I write about related things, or about life in general, but everything comes together in living life for a real purpose and with a real hope, and when those are obscured or hard to see, living for those I love until I can see the hope and love I need for them again.
I write these essays for many reasons, but most of all to help those who are going through the same things I am going through, in hope that what has helped me might give them hope or tools to help them in their journey.
I pray that God will bless us all.