What Can I Say To a Parent Losing a Child Through Violence?
Parents are burying their children in Uvalde, Texas. Although I have also lost a child, I can’t even imagine what I could say to parents are suffering child loss through violence. There are just no words.
Judaism teaches that everything has a reason. G-d orchestrates everything that occurs, even to the smallest detail like the falling of a leaf. It’s just not humanely possible to understand why G-d would allow innocent children to be murdered. I can’t understand, so I don’t even try. The prophet Isaiah echos G-d’s words:
’…My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways your ways, says G-d. (Isaiah 55:8)
I heard Rabbi Yussie Zakutinsky once remark, that if one looks at an overall view of history, the world is actually becoming a better place. With the current tragedies in the world, it’s hard to believe. I’m very myopic when it comes to world history. I only relate to my tiny sliver of time. But maybe it’s true. Maybe the world is improving, not just technologically, but getting better in how people treat one another. Nonetheless, the murder of children in Uvalde shows there are painful ‘glitches’ where the path to world perfection takes a nosedive.
How does one deal with child loss from violence? Perhaps we can gain some emotional strength from Sherri Mandell. Sherri Mandell is a mom who is no stranger to tragedy. In 2001, her son Koby together with a friend, were murdered by Arab terrorists. The boys bodies were found stoned to death in a cave near Tekoa, Israel. Koby was 13.
In an interview Sherri says:
‘…When you have a loss, people ask you: “Have you moved on? Did you get closure?” There is no closure. You don’t shut the door on something; it accompanies you. But the question is: How does it accompany you? How does it motivate and change you? I feel that Koby’s energy and spirit stays alive in our life. It’s ironic because his loss made us greater.’
I can’t understand how G-d thinks, but I can try to figure out how I can become a greater, better person from loss. What can I do for others? This is, and must be, my life’s task, the task of mourning parents, and the task of all those who watch tragedy unfold.
Prayer is also a big part of my life. Although events in life might be painful, I still need to connect with G-d. I need to connect to Him with my prayers and tears that He should bring perfection to the world and stop all the suffering. I feel my connection to G-d has become greater after my son’s passing.
G-d wants a connection with me, with everyone. He doesn’t throw away heartfelt prayers. And if my prayers aren’t answered today, perhaps they’ll be answered tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, then sometime later. G-d stores up prayers and tears to use them at just the right time.
As King David says in Psalms:
‘…a heart broken and humbled, O G-d, you will not despise.’ (Psalms 51:19)