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“And a sword will pierce your own heart, too”

– the Prophecy of Simeon 

For a little while now, I have been reading posts by a lady who recently lost a child to suicide. It is still very early days for her and she is trying her very hardest to come to terms with this terrible loss and all the feelings of grief, loss, anger and powerlessness which her loss has brought in it’s wake. She is one of several such people I have contact with. Another is a very close friend of mine; she, too, lost a son to suicide – for her, it was a number of years ago, but it might as well have been only yesterday. As I see it, this particular grief stands alone amongst all the others. To lose a child is awful enough; but for it to happen by deliberate act of that child is, I think, an unimaginable and intolerable pain. It is also a pain from which the loved ones never really recover. It leaves behind such intense emotions, and so very many unanswered questions. And I wonder if that intense sense of loss is worst of all for a mother, who bore that child.

The death of a child, regardless of the particular circumstances – whether by suicide, sudden death, violence, or some other reason – is surely one of the hardest crosses any living soul can be asked to bear. I have no idea how hard it must be to bear this cross day in and day out.

And so this month, dedicated as it is to the Blessed Virgin under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows, is one of great meaning for many souls. One acquaintance noted that the Blessed Virgin alone understands her pain, always listens, is always there. She is absolutely right about that. Our Blessed Lady understands because She, too, has lost a child. She stood at the foot of the Cross and watched Him die, having accompanied Him throughout the long hours leading to that moment.

For any parent finding themselves in that terrible situation, I can only hope that they turn to the Mother of God and see reflected in Her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, something of the pain and loss they are experiencing in their own. Not only does She understand pefectly, but She can obtain the only thing that will begin the process of true healing – the grace of God.

I ask Her to look with eyes of compassion upon the souls who have died, and upon all those struggling to come to terms with their loss.

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