Saturday, December 10, 2011

How Can We Ever Fathom the Pain?

I knew this young girl, Arwen Morgan. She and Laura were classmates and good friends at Blaine Elementary. There were sleepovers, outings to the Folklife Festival (Arwen came from a family of musicians), meals together, a garage sale they organized  and secrets that only young girls share. Arwen and Laura went their separate ways after grade school but intermittently stayed in touch. I remember seeing Arwen in a coffee shop a few years back; she came over to greet Denny and me and shared that she was studying at the Cornish School for the Arts. Where had all the years gone? Suddenly Arwen was grown up, just like Laura; young, beautiful and ready to take on life with passionate energy.

I learned this morning that Arwen committed suicide in July of this year; I hadn't heard. Neither had Laura. Her mother, Teresa, overcome with grief and unable to survive her loss,  jumped to her death less than 3 weeks ago. What a tragedy; a family ripped apart. Laura and I talked tonight about Arwen's death. Both of us cannot fathom the "whys" of this sadness. She struck us both as a self confident, grounded young woman. Then again, we can never know the mental suffering of another. So sad. So overwhelmingly sad; for Arwen, for her mother, Teresa, and for their family.

I'm filled with memories of a better time tonight; a time when two young girls played together and their parents had hopes and dreams for their future.

Mothers and Fathers are never supposed to lose a child. If so, the natural order of the universe, violated, dissolves into devastating insanity, irreconcilable.  I immediately think of my daughter. And, then I think of Teresa's reaction to the loss of her daughter. I get it; from where I stand right now: I get it.

And, then I think of a close girlfriend who suffered the unimaginable; the loss of both her children. How is this survivable, I wonder. I suppose we can only know if we are there, living the agony. Otherwise, we can only wonder.


  1. How very sad. You are right, it is impossible to fathom the pain.

    We are friends with a local family who have lost two children to a genetic heart defect. It is unimaginable.

    Aunt Snow

  2. Last year in the summer a woman who attends the same church as I comitted suicide. I heard the news when I was on my honeymoon. I did not know her really, really well, nevertheless I still find it shocking. She was about 62, which may not be young, but it is not that old either. Looking back, I realize she must have planned the whole thing, when in summer she showed up at church and started distributing her books. She left a "Dr. Doolittle" book on the table which I still have. She always struck me as stable and had a sense of humor. These things always leave you puzzled. (Tina)


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