Sunday, November 13, 2005

Going through her stuff

There comes a time in the cycle of bereavement when every bereaved parent's has to go through their child's stuff. There is a lot of discussion about what to do with their stuff but I do not intend to address that now. I mean the time to go through their journals, pictures, school projects, clothes or homework. It is an unnerving feeling as you open letters & read diaries marked as "private” or "do not open". Each piece of writing, every homework assignment is a treasure. It is one of the few ways left to discover new aspects of your child. Each page provides a new perspective. But of all the experiences of a bereaved parent, going through their stuff is among the most painful. Trying to interpret, to understand. Squinting to decipher a handwritten word. What did she mean? The painful reality torments and tortures you. It says, "You will never know". Each item becomes more precious. A chewed up pencil has the same value as an expensive necklace. "Whose is this?” you ask. If it belongs to the deceased child, it is cherished.
On a number of occasions, people have asked, "I have something from a friend’s deceased child. Should I give it to them?" My response is run, don't walk and bring it to them. If it is a video clip, a picture, some letter or even the seemingly most insignificant item, it will have great value to the parents. It might be painful but the appreciation that they will have will never be able to be repaid. And if you have nothing, perhaps you have a story to share, don’t be afraid. They will love you for it.
I remember when we went to Israel over a year ago for Hakamas HaMatzava. The children had packed Nechama's jewelry in a little Hello Kitty jewelry box. One of the younger kids brought it outside and left it by the curb. A group of local children took it. "Someone took Nechama's jewelry”, my niece shrieked. I ran outside. My heart was beating, pounding. My limbs were numb. As I caught up to the local "thieves", a group of 10-year-old boys. My face was pained and angry. "Open your pockets!" The boys were frightened. They must have sensed my anger as I think my face portrayed that of a mad man. The boys, as fast as they could, starting handing over each and every piece. It seemed like jewelry was falling from the sky. After I collected all of the missing pieces, the boys ran away. I felt a sense of relief. But after all was said and done, I still didn't have my little girl back.


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My Goal is to post at least 2x per week on Sunday and Wednesday.