Wherever the Road Leads

Rough Week for Mothers

Last Sunday, the Preacher’s sermon included an incident surrounding the birth of Christ that I either never knew of or its gravity had never sunk in.

After eight days, it was custom to have a child circumcised and the first-born consecrated to the Lord. Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the temple to have the rite performed and also they saw a devout man, Simeon. Simeon blessed the child then carried on to say…

This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.

Now, how does a mother go through life anticipating not simply her own tragedy but that of the child she bore?

I watched a movie last week called “Clara and Me.” It’s a French film from a few years ago. Before deciding to download it, I checked the International Movie Data Base (www.imdb.com), an excellent resource for getting the basic synopsis of a movie, then afterwards discussing the film in an online forum with other folks who have seen it.

Unusually, the plot twist was given away in the synopsis. Not just, “love story until fate intervened”, this was “…until fate intervened by having her brain sucked out by extra-terrestrials using a Hoover Vacuum model 24A”. This movie was very well done, but for the first three-quarters, up to the plot twist, I’m awaiting the landing of the extra-terrestrials with their Hoover.

This is for sixty minutes of a ninety minute movie, waiting for something to happen. How can a mother go through her lifetime waiting for tragedy?

Yesterday in Ottawa, Canada there was a funeral for a child who was about a year and a half old. As I understand the story, the family pulled into their driveway a few days after Christmas. Ottawa gets a fair bit of snow and cold in winter.

Before putting the car away in the garage, the father stopped to let his wife, his four-year-old son and his eighteen-month-old daughter get out of the car. The mother, laden with parcels, went to the front door. When she opened the door, she heard a scream. She turned around to see what was wrong and let out a wail so loud the neighbors came out to see what was wrong.

The father had run over and killed his daughter. I don’t know the details.

How does a family carry on after that?

About ten years ago I read a story about a family living in the West Island of Montreal, husband, wife and toddler. It was summer and it can get hot and humid during Montreal’s summer. Something changed in their morning routine… maybe the wife’s car was in the shop. The husband dropped off his wife then drove to the train station where he caught his usual commuter train to downtown Montreal.

At some point, too late, he realized that he had forgotten to drop off the toddler at Day Care. The child died, strapped into his car seat inside a stifling-hot car parked in a suburban train station.

How do you live through that. How did the husband make the phone call to his wife? I can’t imagine it.

I’d consider suicide. Except that would make things even worse for the wife. She would have lost a child and a husband, even if the husband’s only role for the rest of her life was to give her someone to hate.

As I have aged, I have found the adage to be true… “I thought I had it rough because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet”. The mind adapts and accepts a grave situation by considering, well, it could have been worse.

For these two families, I don’t think it can get any worse. There is no footless man to compare themselves to.

Supposedly, the mind cannot grasp ‘infinity’. Neither will I be able to grasp the torture these folks will have to endure for the rest of their lives.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

  Related Posts
  • No related posts found.


  1. Alistair Mair  January 7, 2013



Add a Comment