Around 8 months after my son passed away, a dear couple came up with a good idea. Now, this couple had lost their child much earlier than we did, years ago, actually. They’d buried their child and even made a plaque for their baby.
I’d been wanting to go to Jason’s graveside for a while, but hadn’t quite gotten around to it. There had been a lot going on emotionally, and I hadn’t wanted to ruffle things too much.
So when this couple came up with the idea of going to visit their baby’s grave and our baby’s grave, I was fully up for it. When we got to their baby’s grave, waaaah, it was hard. It hit me once again, with a deep dull freshness…that this was indeed a final resting place. It was sad. I cried. I broke down. I let loose. I let the tears flow, I let the emotions roll.
We walked together in silence…in silence but in deep communion with one another. And then we began to talk, just a little.
The other mum and I took to walking around and mediating on the final messages we write about our loved ones. How deep, sad and true those words are, how we mean them. And we were in agreement, there really are no words that can suffice to say what we’d like to say in those moments. None whatsoever. So we say something, a frail attempt to grab onto the only thread of connection that there seems to be.
We had lunch, talked…had a break of sorts, knowing that another trip was ahead. We went to our baby’s grave. Our lovely, handsome gift of a son. It was difficult, in a firm, sad way. Walking to the grave was the longest walk I’ve made in a long, long time. Getting there and realizing once again just how final that place is. How sad it is, to have my baby’s body covered under the soil… I remembered that day, the day of the burial, and what was happening. The emotions. The prayers. The friends. The support. And then here we were…just a few people, a few true people. A few true people who honor the memory of my son. Who acknowledge that his life meant, and still means something of value, to us and to them.
To just stand there in solidarity, silence and understanding was the biggest gift that someone could have given me at the time. To acknowledge our lives in their entirety, including the loss of my son. To witness our lives as we live out the regular routines, and to witness our lives as we battle with the gaping holes of loss.
These are the friends who understand things we don’t say through words. These are the friends who God sends when nothing else makes sense. These are the friends who hold the torch and walk ahead in the dark tunnel, holding both the torch and our hands. And then say that there is hope. Having been in the dark tunnel together, these become the easier friends to believe. Truer. More believable. And although many friends may say many very helpful, comforting and encouraging things, these friends of silence, as it were, have a special, special place…and a special, special assignment that they fulfill.