Losing a second child

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

It’s difficult enough losing one son. But to lose a second to the same medical condition — that’s not easy for any mother to deal with.

Earlier this week I spoke with the mother of a classmate who passed away. Her son was a decent guy, a talented musician and got on well with most people. When I read about his death in the school magazine, I attempted to make contact with his family via the school. His mother called me back.

My friend was 31 years old when he died. I had last spoken with him 15 years ago, but had lost touch with him since leaving school.

His mother explained that when his younger brother died due to the same medical condition, my friend’s health suddenly deteriorated too – almost as though he had given up hope.

But today’s post isn’t about hope or regaining lost hope. It is about the painful reality of a mother’s second loss.

So here we are, a mother who had lost two sons. There is of course a third son who lives, the eldest son. Some may indelicately state that “at least you still have him, your eldest son” — but that doesn’t make it any better. That doesn’t make the loss any less.

Some may say “at least both your sons are no longer suffering” — but that doesn’t make a mother’s loss any less either.

Others may still fumble “ok, it’s time now for you to get on with your life and make the most of what you have left” — but a mother’s loss takes time to deal with, to live out its course in its own natural time.

I’m reminded of the mother of another school friend (a friend who passed away in a car accident almost a decade ago). Since then she has become a grandmother, twice. But it doesn’t take away the loss of her son.

Family events will come and go. Families will expand and grow and transition through bad times and good. But a son lost will never be forgotten, nomatter how much outside forces may insist it should.

My thoughts right now are with all the mothers who have raised and lost. Lost through distance. Lost through misunderstandings. Lost through death.

A mother’s loss doesn’t get easier, regardless of how many times she experiences it. I hope that the suffering mothers in the world around us find some comfort and courage to feel lighter, to grow stronger, to live with love.

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