Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another. To follow, please leave your email address.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Someone Has Died, and Someone Grieves









for Ronan and Emily Rapp

Someone has died, and someone grieves. We view this death as an aberration, and as wrong. Friends respond by telephone, Facebook, texts, writing about their sadness and despair. Many don’t know what to say or do.

An infant has died, and the mother grieves. 

Ronan died of Tay-Sachs at age two. There was no treatment and no cure. He began to die as soon as he was born. His life was a falling snowflake, beautiful to see and enjoy, but brief and falling, falling, falling until he reached the ground. Emily wrote a blog throughout her journey and strangers watched the tragedy unfold. They learned the cost of unconditional loving.

Someone has died, and someone grieves.

This death was not wanted by any God, nor does faith protect us from sorrow. The innocent suffer too often, and horribly. Emily focused on loving Ronan each day as if each day was forever, even as each week he lost more of his ability to see, hear, move, smile, think, and breathe.

Someone has died, and someone grieves.

Ronan was beautiful, and Emily is eloquent. We ask questions and listen to her answers. We learn how to cry and mourn. We feel in our hearts the anger. We sit in silence and let our presence speak. We bring food, wash dishes, and help each other bear the breaking weight of suffering.

Someone has died, and someone grieves.

We don’t like to think about death or grief, but in the struggle to survive we discover strength and courage. We share our hearts and build a new community. We take the wisdom we are learning and love each other better because of it. This is what we have, and this is what we have to do.

Someone has died, and someone grieves.

By facing death, we become unafraid. By sharing grief, we are set free. We bury our emptiness and let sorrow go. I believe that Ronan can hear the words that Emily has been wanting to share. 


No matter our dreams, no matter how much time we have with those we love, in the end there is only love. By loving them they become eternal.

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