Monday, 5 September 2016

Testimony of a bereaved parent

This deeply moving and tragic testimony was submitted as a comment last week. It merits its own post.

"As someone who had a child (who died at the age of 21 months in a car accident, never comprehending what was happening to him), I'd like to say a few things.

The first is this: it was the single greatest joy I ever experienced. And he was overjoyed to be alive. You could see it in his face and how he ran about. I never loved anyone or anything more. I don't think I could have. I was more alive and joyous and ecstatic than I had ever been. I delighted in his growth and his intelligence, strength and courage. It was likely the best time of my life. And I'm grateful for it.

Then he died. Run over by his mom in a driveway. Totally not her fault. She thought he was playing with me somewhere else and could not see him (she was backing up). I had forgotten what my wife was doing and never thought he was in danger where he was. Neither of us was drunk, or high, or anything else like that. Kids played on that road all the time. We were just doing what we always did together. Then he died.

That was the worst pain I ever experienced. I won't go into it. It was beyond awful, more painful than when I almost lost a thumb to a wood splitter. I thought I would die for most of it. I just could not believe that my beautiful son was gone, just like that. I had brought him into the world only to die at 21 months old. I was (in other's eyes, not just my own) a great father, as these things go, and heaven knows his mom was lovely. I loved him dearly, more than I had words for. I would have literally died to protect him, and that is no joke. But that choice was not given to me. I had no control at all, in the end, other than the obvious things like loving him, educating him, and not hitting or abusing him or wrecking his sense of self and belonging. Life had cars, and diseases, and other life-threatening things I could not stop. But somehow I had forgotten that, as my wife and I had had fairly happy childhoods and had survived. Not so for him.

As time has gone by, I have thought about whether I had any right to bring a person into this world, even when circumstances are (and they were) good, or at least as good as they could have possibly been. Given what I have learned about our condition in the universe, and the extreme evidence brought about by my son's early death, at this point I would have to say 'no'. I don't. Even though I think he would have had a really good life had he lived to see it, and he did have about the best of all possible worlds when he was alive, I don't know that for a fact. I just wish I had thought about this before he lived, and died, as much as I loved him and as much as I wish he was still here long enough to say 'sorry' to and wish him on his way (even though I know in my head he cannot hear me and is now just bones). I'll live with what happened forever. And as beautiful as he was and as great as it was to have him in our lives, I hope and pray (ha!) that I'll never do that again. It's not fair. The next one could die too, or worse.

Thanks for listening. This seemed an appropriate place to tell this story."

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Futility of the Sensitive

Sensitivity, kindness, compassion and all these other alleged virtues are of little use in this world. In fact, they will make your life harder than it need be, as you will be crippled by over-awareness of every slight, every injustice, every pointless grief. Life is a violent process, generated by violence (think of the thrusting, grunting, force and possession involved in the sexual act), and maintained by violence. Your life will be happier the more of a pig you can be. Moreover, those you help, or imagine helping, will not be that grateful; most will go on to procreate and renew the slaughterhouse, and applaud the others who do so.

Another good reason to be a pessimist.