Friday, January 06, 2006

On Loss and Sadness

A man came by my office today. He lost his daughter in a tragic airplane crash just a few days before Christmas. We sat in my office and talked for a while. Nothing I could say would make a difference for him, I listened, that's all I could do. He told me he had received letters from all over the country. He said he had received letters from other people who had lost their children in similar tragic ways. 'They know exactly what we are going through.' he said. He seemed to appreciate the many cards and letters he and his wife had received. He didn't seem in a hurry to leave. I thought maybe he needed to be there right then so I showed him around a little. While I was showing him around a dozen or so girls of all ages came in and the place erupted in activity, laughter, chattering and silliness. He stopped short and watched for a moment with a sociable smile carefully but not convincingly in place. Then he said he needed to go and would forego the rest of the tour he had asked for just a few moments before. I didn't blame him. The incongruity of a parent who so recently had lost a child he cherished in a place overflowing with children whose parents don't want them was close to unbearable. Sometimes, it's just so acutely obvious of how little sense the world makes. He left and a sadness settled over me that I haven't been able to shake since. I don't have anything profound to add to this. I just needed to write it.