My Real World (part 2)

January 26, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons | 5 Comments
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Throughout history children have predeceased their parents.  Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln had 4 sons.  Only 1 lived to adulthood.  No wonder Lincoln was always characterized as being depressed.  After the death of their 3rd son, Willie, Mary Todd Lincoln wrote, “when I can bring myself to realize that he has indeed passed away, my question to myself is, ‘can life be endured?”.

Here and here I posted a quote by Robert Frost.  He had a brilliant response to Mary Todd’s question.

In three words I can sum up every- thing I’ve learned about life. It goes on.  ~Robert Frost

I may have studied the life and work of Robert Frost in high school English class but I do not remember learning that he and his wife had 6 children.  Only 3 of those 6 children outlived their mother and only 2 outlived their father.  Frost and his wife both (not surprisingly) suffered from depression.

I have always known that Evan and I are not alone in this club.   There is tragedy, loss and grief throughout history and the world.  It is everywhere.  Or maybe it seems that way to me.  The rabbi who presided over Jake’s funeral told us an analogy which made a lot of sense to me.  He said that death/grief/loss is like when you decide you are going to buy a certain kind of car.   Once you make the decision you start seeing the car every where.

Regardless of how common or uncommon death/grief/loss is in the world I have a different perspective since Jake died in 2005.  I did not think that my child or now my children would die before me.  I thought it was something that happened a long time ago or to other people now it is my reality.

No matter how far the distance you have traveled nor the failures that  have gathered, hope would still meet you anywhere.  – Dodinsky


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  1. You ended on a a message of hope which makes me hopeful too! It is hard to understand pain and suffering. But this man sometimes helps me see this world is both the joy and the pain which is in effect all part of life. “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” – Joseph Campbell

  2. Your rabbi is very wise – yes, grief is everywhere around us. “Before” we could not see it, now, that we are in the club we can recognize the face of grief. I think it is in the eyes.

    Slowly, slowly, I am able to embrace my grief. As I travel this road I remind myself that to grieve is to be blessed for it means we knew and can still know love.

    Blessings, it is a long and windy road but we do not travel it alone.

    – Linda

  3. Those are great quotes from very wise people. You are not alone on this difficult road. And we are always here with you, my friend.

  4. These quotes are certainly ones to think about and learn from. My hope for you, is that as “life goes on,” that although you will never forget, that you will allow yourself more happiness and pleasures in life without feeling guilt.

  5. Thanks for making me stop and think about the Lincolns from this perspective. I often think of JFK and Jackie Kennedy when thinking about loss of children and prematurity, but hadn’t thought about the Lincolns.


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