Sorry for the cheesy title to this post but I’m not in a very creative mood. I arrived home this evening to learn that the daughter of one of my good friends had died. She had been in and out of the hospital all her life so perhaps this wasn’t a surprise, but it still hurts. Figuring that my friends probably needed some grieving time to themselves, I forewent a phone call and spent a long time crafting an email to express my heartfelt condolences.
Of course it is terrible whenever a loved one dies, but there is something so . . . unnatural . . . about parents outliving their children; it adds another dimension of grief to the mourning. Although I have never experienced it myself, I saw the anguish it caused my grandparents when my father died; years later they still cried and cried about it. These friends of mine were no more deserving of such a tragedy than were my grandparents, but I suppose these things happen; death is as natural a part of life as birth.
Then, no sooner had I hit the send button than a new email arrived in my inbox. It was from another friend of mine who was in the same circle of friends as those who had just lost their daughter. However this email was to announce the birth of his son, who entered this world just as the other was leaving.
I feel both sorrow and joy; I feel conflicted. I suppose this is akin to (albeit much, MUCH milder) the mixture of grief and joy felt by a new father when the mother dies in childbirth. Every end is a new beginning, every time a door closes another is opened, etc. This pointed coincidence of timing illustrates something so simple about the natural cycle of birth and death, yet so profound that I can’t possibly articulate it in this entry.