Several months ago, Karen and I attended a Shabbos retreat for grieving parents. The experience had such a profound effect on me that I wrote a three-part blog about it. I could have written more, much more.
One of my most vivid memories was hearing a fine young father talking about the death of two children and then adding, in almost a whisper, that they are “very, very worried” about another child. I remember staring at this young parent, a Lakewood Kollel student, and thinking to myself: how can he face the day?
Over Shabbos, I spent some time with this man and his wife and I was struck by their calm, by their devotion to HaShem and Torah. He was not one of these men who say that God has a plan and it is ultimately for the best. No, he was honestly struggling with his anger, with his grief, trying to find some answers in the thicket of bottomless tragedy.
After the weekend, he and I wrote a few e-mails to each other and I was optimistic that his child was going to be fine.
Right before Shabbos, I received word that the child has died. Karen and I have lost one child and our world has forever been ripped apart. This young couple have lost three children to a cruel and mysterious illness–perhaps genetic. Just a few minutes ago, I wrote an e-mail to this couple. I reached deep inside myself, trying to find words that contain some measure of comfort. I am quite sure that I failed. Is there any comfort to offer? If there is, I cannot find it. I cannot even imagine it.