I’ve seen grief. Yep, I’ve seen somewhere around 750 families at various hospitals go through anticipatory grief and grief itself. But sometimes I see something challenging, and not always good.
There we were, the medical team, a mother, a grandfather and me after chest compressions and a long slog of an afternoon for the medical team the whole afternoon trying to resuscitate this child. The compressions stopped, the child pronounced, her body dignified with a nice blanket. Just a couple seconds passed…
And yet there was only anger and hostility. Towards everyone. The family grated each other, full of judgment and blame since I wouldn’t of let that happen. The mother threw darts of disdain and heated vitriol towards anyone who dared console her. The brewing tension over months and years stoked the fires that already wouldn’t go away. Mom fought, pushed, demanded, cut down, and screamed through every compassionate touch and calm voice. But here’s the catch. The blame and anger focused their heat on those who had separated her from this child in the beginning, the bitterness of being deemed unworthy as a mom.
And you know what, that’s legitimate grief. But…but…but…
I struggled so much to have empathy for this grieving and self consuming family.
I struggled mightily. Still struggling in fact.
In the midst of all the anger about being separated, she ran. And the child, young, innocent, pure, and now dead, lay separated again.
Mom was grieving and is owed the right to grieve without a chaplains judgment. But as a father I struggled to see why one would run from the little one that deserves dignity and love when life failed her. I am struggling emotionally because while I understand, I stand heartbroken with the child who deserved the presence of a familial love, and this family’s grief and anger took them emotionally and physically far from the bedside.
I know it’s judgment, but this post is not about that. It’s about my own compassion for a little girl and the life that was cruel regardless of what her family was or wasn’t doing out of grief. And she died, cruelly alone. That hurts.
That deserves a “why God” in and of itself.
That sticks with me, and that little girl will not be forgotten.