Thursday, October 14, 2010

He Was Here; and He Was Loved

Last Friday I attended the funeral of baby Stefan, the two-week old son of my friend Jane. In the past 4 years I have been to 3 children's funeral's, my niece Isabelle who died after a low-impact car accident, my cousin Natasha who had leukaemia and now Stefan, who suffered complications during his birth but eventually succumbed to pneumonia.

You never get used to seeing the small coffin.

Nobody enjoys funerals but when the person is older and has had the chance to live a good life their funeral, while sad, can also be a celebration of their life and the things they achieved. The same can't be said for a child.

Losing a child isn't just the loss of the physical form, it's the loss of the  life you envisaged, all the things you planned/hoped to do together. Parents always wonder what their children will be like when they grow up, will they marry, have children, be studious or sporty... when you lose a child you also lose that dream.

It's an awful feeling looking into the face of a grief stricken parent knowing that nothing you say can bring them comfort - there are no magic words that can erase their pain.

My beautiful friend Jane somehow composed herself enough to read out the following poem, which she adapted for Stefan's funeral.

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing
Now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips
Like a puff of summer wind

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace,
Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon

In the instant we learn, that Stefan is gone we know nothing
No clocks can tell our time and no oceans can rush our tides
With the abrupt absence of our treasure

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone
Piercingly alone
Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us
and we did have him

He came to us from the Creator, love from his parents in abundance
Despite the suffering of his life he was sheathed in parental love, and family love

We looked forward to his arrival with passion, compassion and humour
and never took him for granted
We had him

Whether we knew who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his
We had him

Beautiful, delighting our eyes
He suffered and he fought so very, very hard....
And he was stronger than anyone we’ve ever known

We were enchanted with him because he held nothing
He gave us all he had been given

Today we are missing our beautiful boy, Stefan Andreas Charles

But we do know that we had him
And we are the world.

Four years on and we are still grieving the loss of Isabelle so I know Jane and Colin have a long dark road ahead of them.  There is a difference between moving on and moving forward and I hope Jane and Colin find the strength to move forward while always keeping Stefan in their hearts.

And I sincerely hope I never have to attend the funeral of another child.

Ever again


ClaireyHewitt said...

Me too, seven years since my nephew died, still have not been back to that church since, feels like yesterday, man, I miss him.

Carolyn said...

Yes Claire, it's such a hard thing to deal with.

Anonymous said...

The most awful thing anyone can ever do is attend a child's funeral. I am thankful its never happened to me.

I have absolutely NO idea how parents and family cope with it especially when there are other children in the family.

Sarah said...

oh very sad. Take care over the weekend Carolyn and thank you for visiting.

Unknown said...

Sometimes you wonder why children's pathways in life on earth are so short...Big hugs.

Danielle said...

It is so so sad, I look at Matilda and think how lucky I am.

I think your brave.