It was a beautiful, sad day today.
And it served as a reminder that sometimes there are no words that can adequately explain pain.
But this is not my story, just my brief experience as an outsider looking into the window of another family.
Brief as it was, it left a mark.
So I’ll explain.
It has been a rather humid summers week and we decided that we should take advantage of the weather and enjoy a family excursion to our lovely local beach.
Husband and I basked in the thrills of Master One and Miss Three frolicking on the ocean shore and collecting fish eggs and seashells for their sandcastle. When the kids started looking tired and requiring a pick me up we took them for a “special treat” – an icecream at a playground.
Since becoming a parent I’ve loved the socialisation that children gain within minutes at a park. Our bubbly Miss Three is quite the butterfly of playtime and is always quick to befriend other children and invite them to play games of hide and seek and pirates. Within seconds of arriving she was running around with young boy and a young girl, aged around three and five.
Whilst they were playing I noticed how sweet these children were to our Master One; inviting him in the cubby houses and even helping him up play equipment. Even though they could have been running off doing “bigger kid” activities they were very tender and kind to him.
I started chatting away to their Grandmother who was standing beside us and watching them play. And delightfully mentioned how inclusive her grandchildren were.
She then said something that floored me.
“It’s probably because they lost their baby brother at 7 weeks. He found him,” she said motioning towards the boy.
I was dumbfounded. My husband and I were shocked but managed to string a few petty and inadequate sentences together about how horrible that would be and the poor child.
But I couldn’t begin to imagine how a young boy would even begin processing that information.
I quietly stayed shattered on the inside at something so tragic. I’ve never liked the idea of crocodile tears as this was a family’s story I knew nothing about. But since becoming a parent my empathy meter has quadrupled and instantly my heart ached for this little boy finding his baby brother forever sleeping. I blinked a few tears away.
We continued chatting whilst the kids played together, ours, oblivious to such tragedy.
It seems nothing I could write could possibly explain the complexities of grief this family was experiencing. But without knowing what the Grandmother just told me, we would never have known.
I guess none of us ever really know what each other is experiencing.
As I write this a summer storm has just dramatically started.
I’ll hug my children extra hard tonight.