Thursday, August 30, 2012


It's the only word that fits: surreal.

I tell myself that it's only a calendar, a human invention.  One date is no different from another.  But the seasons change, and I can feel it.  I feel autumn approaching; the leaves are brushed with the faintest tint of color and the humidity has receded.  Even if I didn't know the day and the week, I would know.  

On the outside, who could tell?  I'm about off to spend the night with my daughter, who is a great joy to me.  My son is at his first interview for a potential real job after law school, which is a wonderful thing.  But I feel as if I am stepping into the thin air of that void where perhaps God is not. 

My friend Lisa wrote, maybe a couple of years ago, remembering her own most devastating loss, "Every day, you think that you can't go on without them for another minute, and then one day you realize that years have gone by."

Four counts as years.  She was right.

Probably around the same time, spiritual director emeritus wrote to say that "one of your challenges is that you are no longer part of his day-to-day life."  

He was right, too.  Odd, isn't it? ~ when he is so much a part of mine.

Or maybe he was wrong.  Maybe in my prayer, I remain a part of his life.  Maybe.  But not in any way available to my powers of perception.

That's the surreality of it.  (Surreality is not, apparently  a word.  But it should be.)  

This odd place in which one is juxtaposed between life as we know it and life in some other dimension, in part because this life has turned out to be unacceptable, and in part because someone without whom you cannot be fully who you are is in the other  ~ whatever and wherever it is.  

Maybe it's a different season there. Maybe autumn stops rolling around,  with its relentless reminders that Before is no more and now it is After.


I decided to re-post this, for a couple of reasons.   

In part, it's my response to the "I can't imagine" phrase.  In case someone wants to try.

In part, it's a reflection on one small dimension of my experience of God during the past four years.  Is God in all things and places?  That's what I believe, and teach, and preach.  Or are there  places, moments in time, where the universe cracks open and reveals a small and barren cleft which God has abandoned?  Places where people die of suicide.

We wonder that,  some of us whose children have been lost to suicide.  Some of us take refuge in the promises of our faith traditions, and some of us abandon them altogether, and some of us wonder.  

Sometimes, I wonder if Josh tumbled into one of those voids.  Other times,  I think that that small plot of ground on which he died must have been immediately crowded with angels, angels ushering him into a light we really cannot imagine. 

It's a hard week-end.


  1. ((((You and body and spirit))))

  2. Many prayers are with you.

  3. Oh Robin, many prayers for you and your family. I pray that you will feel the love that is sent your way by so many people whom you have touched.

  4. I have no words other than thank you (again) for this thoughtful piece of writing. My thoughts are with you and your family this weekend. And I love the beautiful pictures of your children that you have been posting lately.

  5. Thinking of you, sending prayers for comfort and assurance of God's love, of angels present with ALL of you, here and in the next place.

  6. I thought I read this, went back to comment, couldn't find it...was very confused.

    It made me think about my spiritual director's comments about Tom and the communion of saints...and his sense that our beloved dead are involved in our lives. But most of all it reminded me of the two mothers in my parish who have sons to suicide over the last four years, and re-commit to being present to them, to imagining.

    Prayers and hugs sent your way....

  7. Just wanted you to know that I've added this blog to the site that I'm curating in memory of my son.
    Your writing is very meaningful to parents who have experienced the worst possible loss of all.