Aug 25, 2015

A Painful Consolation

A woman described a shiva call that was paid to her mother who had lost a child.  The visitor attempted to console the mourner by noting the rest of her large family.  The bereaved mother did not appreciate this nechama which seemed to say she could manage without her child because she had other children.

I pointed out that what the woman said was correct.  The bereaved mother did not like hearing it because it seemed to imply that her other children could make up for her loss when she felt that her child was irreplaceable.  But, I said, consider Mrs. Shoshana Greenbaum of the Sbarro bombing.

Shoshana got married late in life and was expecting her first child when she was murdered in Sbarro's.  She was an only child.  Unlike the mother described at the beginning of this post, Shoshana's mother had lost her one and only child who was carrying her first and only grandchild.  With Shoshana's death, she was left with nothing.  No children, no continuity.  It was truly a nechama to the woman with other children that she had other children.

1 comment:

  1. I can only speak of losing a premature newborn infant but while I was grateful to a kind Abishter that he allowed the twin to live and that I had other children, I still felt the loss of that one. The mourner is mourning the loss of that child, regardless of what other children exist. Yes, she is lucky to have others, but her heart is still broken. Sometimes it is better not to focus on what good the person has in life but to acknowledge the grief over the loss that they are experiencing. Eventually they will heal and realize that they can move on and appreciate what they still have.