Love and Loss

Yesterday, September 1st, was the first day of Suicide Prevention Month. I lost a grandchild to the insidious illness of suicide last December. He would have been fifteen this week. I wrote the following in honor of my grandson for the summer issue of the quarterly, “Circa.”

The hope of Spring is often followed by the joy of growth in Summer, but not always. Growth can be painful, stunted and even extinguished. My grandkids would often complain of painful limbs while experiencing a growth spurt. The pain would soon be forgotten as they reveled in their newly achieved height or strength. Sometimes emotional growth would involve heartache. The fact is, growing is not only hard, sometimes, for reasons we may never understand it is unbearable.

I lost a beautiful grandchild in December 2021. He took his life. He was not selfish; in fact, he was always willing to offer help to others. He was gentle with his younger relations. He was also smart, athletic, courageous and a bringer of joy to his family. He was a great risk taker. He was admired for his accomplishments that resulted from ignoring risks and jumping into action. The pain his absence has brought is indescribable. I believe that he didn’t want to leave us or cause us pain, but that in a moment of despair he acted. Historically, he acted in the moment.

I lament his loss. I delight in memories, like the time he told us he didn’t think he should be allowed to make an ice cream sundae unsupervised since he hadn’t even seen the facts-of-life movie at school yet. I mourn the fact of life that he is not here to provide us with more memories. I, in miserly fashion, want mountains of memories. I hope not to be consumed by darkness, grief, and despair because that does a disservice to my wonderful grandboy’s memory. His memory deserves better.

So, I will go out into the sunshine and plant in Spring and watch for growth in Summer. I’ve learned from years past, that the growth I see never reconciles with my expectations. Sometimes it exceeds my expectations (usually where zucchini is concerned) and sometimes it falls short. The time I expected and hoped for with my grandson has been cut short.

In Lamentations 3:22-23 the prophet Jeremiah reminds us that God’s compassions are new every morning; that even as we lament a loss there is hope. As I mourn the loss of future mornings with my beautiful grandboy, I will rely heavily on God’s compassion for comfort and renewed hope.

Kahlil Gibran wrote in his poem, “On Death” –

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
    And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

    Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
    And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
    And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

I work daily to plant the seeds of compassion in my consciousness. I don’t want to burden my grandson’s spirit with my despair, but to nurture it to grow in beauty in my heart because he was and remains forever a beautiful boy. May his spirit rise unencumbered and truly dance.

Link to purchase “Circa” issues: