Monday, December 19, 2011

How does your garden grow???

In recent days, the Duggar family has taken much flack for not only announcing that they were expecting a 20th child, but that, in the wake of her death, they planned to name her and hold a memorial service. While I may not understand their way of life, or their beliefs, my heart aches for them. I do not wish what they have to go through on anyone,and the fact that they are now taking more heat for choosing to photograph their dead child, Jubilee, evokes even more empathy for them.

Adam and I have pictures of Boe. They were taken just hours after he was born, and I treasure them. I have chosen to share them with precious few people for a few reasons. First, I have not been ready or "able" to share them. Second, there is something macabre and creepy to most people when it comes to thinking or speaking of dead babies.

There is a quote which I have come across many times in the last months. I am not sure of its exact verbiage or who spoke the words, so I shall paraphrase. Basically, it says that a child who has lost a parent is an orphan, a woman who has lost a spouse is a widow, but there is not a word for a parent who has lost a child because the loss is just too awful.

Doesn't this speak volumes about our society's view of death? Think of all the euphemisms we have to define death: passed away, lost, met his maker, went on to a better place.... Does any of this change the reality of what has happened? Does it take away the ugliness and painfulness that an event like the death of a child (or any loved one) leaves behind to paint a prettier picture so that we might sleep better? Pardon my French, but isn't using an expression like this akin to using shit (fertilizer) to make roses grow?

Death is ugly and unpleasant and not something any of us ever wishes to experience. Inevitably, so is the grief that follows. We all move through it differently. Some of us turn inward and deal very privately, while others of us reach out and make our grief very public. Whether we agree with how others handle their feelings, or not, they are THEIR feelings. The bottom line is, if you don't like the fertilizer I or the Duggars, or anyone else might use to help their garden grow, don't stop to smell the flowers.

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