It was bright on that somber day. But the clear skies and lush grass was wasted on the group gathered. Wasted like the life stolen too soon, too soon. The father repeated in his sorrow hardened heart as he knelt down to the sun flecked earth to lay a flower at his grown son’s grave, which lay beside his own wife’s grave. The hand that remembered his boy’s first clutch, steadying his son’s hand with his first letters, shaking his hand after graduation and waving good bye with this hand as he started his own family. Now this hand will forever remember morning his son’s death.
“No father should have to bury his own son,” he muttered into the stillness of the air. Only the widowed wife heard and silently agreed, amid her sobs. She stood there alone, so alone. No one for support, no shoulder to cry into, no love from the empty bed. She missed him in everything; from the empty seat at the table to the solitary drives to work. Her life now barren of the love shown in everyday acts felt so empty. With only the pain of grief filling the vacuum. Her chest heaved in another painful sob, emotions long concealed bubbled to the surface. She turned away to hide what she could of her uncontrollable emotions from her young son. Now fatherless. Now confused.
He could see only sadness in everybody’s faces yet the minister had spoken only good things. This morning had been different, usually they went to the hospital before school. Father hadn’t been feeling well but then why was he gone, gone on a journey as mother said. Yet young as he was he could sense the lie in it. He could see the disappointment in his mother’s eyes. How she could not bear to even look at him now. What had he done wrong? Or was it something he failed to do? As he dwelled on the thought guilt welled up in powerful emotion as if the surrounding sadness was contagious. Scared and isolated from those around him, tears started streaking his face. Then with sudden realisation he said, “Daddy’s dead, isn’t he?”
The sobbing outburst from his mother more than answered him. But knowing the truth set him free. Peace broke through his leaden soul lifting the burden of guilt, hope welled up inside him, warm fingers caressing him as his father had. Then with a leap of maturity and growth he understood, empathized, saw everyone feeling the same hurt and isolation he felt. The same need of comfort, of family. Needed now more than ever. With that he broke the isolation, gripping Grandpa’s hand and hugging Mummy’s thigh. The sadness was still there but the fear had gone, the pain was bringing them closer together not tearing them apart as before. They returned the gesture unifying the three generations. Still sad but now it seemed right, seemed whole somehow and smiling weakly he said looking up “It’s a long time, but I think I can do it. I can wait for him.”
“No baby. He’s … He isn’t coming back.”
“I know,” he replied sincerely, “But I only have to wait a lifetime until I can go to him. So how do I do it? How do I go to Heaven?”
How would you answer?
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