Lament for Joshua

One of the first family members to meet us at the hospital was my brother-in-law Michael Schmiedicke, who had the terrible but crucial job of finding my husband and telling him about the accident. Michael composed this poetic lament and read it at Joshua's wake:

Tragedy falls lightly on the young.  Our two year-olds, our four year-olds - in a few weeks they will barely even remember this day.  They are more disturbed by the tears they see on the faces of their parents than they are by death itself. Such is the blessedness of youth.

It is on the rest of us that this particular burden weighs most grievously, on those of us who have learned to count our years, those of us who know all too well the merest seeming insignificance that can break a life, take away in an irretrievable instant something we held dear; on those of us who are left behind to ask, why?

I do not doubt God's existence - I have seen too many things, too many miracles for that - but I wonder if there can really be a heaven, a place where the world is no longer stood upon its head in madness, a place where small boys, having escaped from here, are no longer subjected to the cruelties of crushing metal and lost moments.  It is just such times as these that would make men create such a place, a fable to shield their minds from the horror that has come upon them and give them some consolation where no more is to be had any longer.

But then I recall things that better men than I have written, men whose wisdom I would be rash not to trust, for not everything our intellect fails to define is foolish, nor are our hearts always wrong. "The grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise."*

There is a way we should do things, even when we fail to, and there is a way stories should end, even when they don't, and there are things that are true, even when we cannot understand them, and we know this, even when we cannot grasp it, a need so deep that its answering fulfillment must be there too, like a hungry child, who without knowledge, or learning, knows that his mother's breast is there for him, and will not be denied.  So when I go, I will find heaven, even if I have to make it myself...and when I do, I will find Joshua there too.

*Quote from "The Grey Havens," The Lord of the Rings vol 3: The Return of the King


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