Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ora pro nobis, nunc et in ora mortis nostrae

So, I came home this afternoon following church and coffee with someone who, with a bit of luck, might become a recurring character on this blog, and was about to head out to a friend's open house, when I heard yelling and screaming from the apartment next door.

This in itself was nothing surprising, as my neighbor...well, how do I put this without saying too much or drawing too many neighbor appears to be troubled. I have the sense that he is trying to get himself back on his feet after some problem or other, and it's something of an uphill road for him. He has been in my prayers.

The walls in this old building are pretty solid, but I can still understand voices when they are raised past a certain level. What I heard this afternoon hit me like a truck.

No. Worse. My guts have been ripped out. I have been exposed to grief, sudden and cruel, in its rawest, ugliest, most painful form.

A man's voice, screaming in agony.

"My son, my son, oh my God, my beautiful son, he's dead, dead! Look what they did to him, oh my God!"

I wish to the highest powers that I were making this up.

I do not know the details of what has happened, and for obvious reasons I prefer not to speculate. But what I understand is that the person in the apartment is not my neighbor.

The entire family showed up, screaming and wailing outside my door, pounding on the walls in frustration, "Why?" It is unbearable here.

Many thanks to my good friend DJRaindog, who happened to be in the neighborhood when I called, and took me for a walk in the nearby park and a drink (or two) in the bar on the corner, and also thanks in advance to Fabulous Jackass and his partner who are having me over for dinner and escapism tonight.

So, a request, not for me, but for all in this world who suffer untimely grief, most especially those who live to witness the death of their own children: keep them in your thoughts, wish them peace.

Nun will die Sonn’ so hell aufgeh’n,
Als sei kein Unglück die Nacht gescheh’n!
Das Unglück geschah nur mir allein;
Die Sonne sie scheinet allgemein!
Du must nicht die Nacht in dir verschränken,
Musst sie ins ew’ge Licht versenken!
Ein Lämplein verlosch in meinem Zelt!
Heil! Heil sei dem Freudenlicht der Welt!


Matthew said...

Wow, that's really unfortunate. I once had a similar experience with a neighbor being killed, so I can really empathize. I hope you and the family are able to feel better soon.

little-cicero said...

Will you be able to help in any way? I ask not to guilt you or anything- it's just that it may be that you can only find peace over this incident if you can contribute to bringing peace to the family. Guilt can rear its ugly head in this sort of thing if such contributions aren't made- and I know how damaging guilt can be.

Jess said...

There's nothing you can do to change this, of course. If you don't know them, then perhaps a condolence card would be nice, but more than that might seem intrusive.

I've witnessed the loss of a son, up close in my own family. It's unspeakably cruel, but it's sometimes a fact of life.

Prayer is good, but the main message to take from this and any loss is that our time on this earth is fleeting. Make the most of it!

little-cicero said...

Yes, on second thought, it may be intrusive, but I wouldn't stop myself over that formality. That is, if you feel the obligation...

Anyways, it's likely that you who are older have more wisdom on this subject than I. But then, any contributions you can make are probably trivial compared to the guilt you would otherwise pile upon yourself.