When a Child Dies


In the light of the tragedy/travesty which has ensued since the death of four soldiers in Niger, Africa, James Lee Burk’s 2008 novel, “Swan Peak,” provided words of wisdom.  Two college students had been brutally murdered.  Detective Dave Robicheaux says in an epilogue,

“Two weeks later, I placed flowers on the graves of both Seymour Bell and Cindy Kershaw.  I didn’t try to contact or console their families, because I believe absolutely without reservation that the worst thing that can happen to human beings is to lose ones child, and the words we offer by way of solace become salt inside the wound.  Instead, I said a prayer over their graves and told them that I hoped they were all right… (that for the Lord) to keep all of us safe from those who Jesus said should fasten millstones around their necks and cast themselves into the sea.”

I found that when I sat with the parents of children who had died in auto accidents or when two of newborn triples died, that there was little that could be said.  In the early 1970’s Earl Bollinger, a member of Zion Lutheran in Albert Lea MN whose daughter had died, said to a young pastor who still had much to learn that we don’t expect a child to die before their parents, “It’s out of the order of things.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s