I had a good friend who lost a child two weeks before the child was due. It has been probably 35 years (I am just guessing), but it is painful for her to this day. The last week of her pregnancy was the worst part - the child was already dead inside her, and when she went out of the house, people would ask about the due date. The due date was also going to be the death date for her baby. I could not imagine her feeling when that question was asked. She always says she has three children, two are grown, one died as a child.
Every once in a while, I talk to someone who has lost a child – either at childbirth or after carrying that child for many months. And although the words may be different, one story is the same: all say that someone will minimize the death – say that at least the child was not older, with more memories. Then it would be more painful.
Now I am not going to debate whether it is more painful to lose a child at childbirth, at ten years or at twenty years – I have no idea how you would be able to quantify such pain. But I find it fascinating that people who have no experience with children dying will offer up advice that minimizes someone's pain. What are they thinking?
I am reminded by something that Atticus Finch said: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." (Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird)
But I have heard others say that you can't judge them until you walk in their shoes. And I don't really get it. I mean, we don't ask murderers to be judges in the courtroom, because certainly having someone who has committed the crime would have more information about how the defendant was feeling. So I am not a big believer in "can't judge me until you walk in my shoes." One of the disadvantages of being a Christian is that we are taught not to judge. That it is God's role. All about casting the first stone. Well, there are other disadvantages to being Christian – but I don't think I am supposed to be highlighting problems with the Church. Martin Luther did that, and the Catholic Church tried to hunt him down.
Anyway, I was just thinking about how insensitive people can be on topics that scream for people to be sensitive to them. Oh, and I guess I was judging those people because I am a piss-poor Christian.