12.04.2006

Samuel Greenberg, age two

A colleague, Daniel Greenberg, has suffered a devastating loss, that of his two year old son. The newspaper account is here.

I remembered a quote from William Sloane Coffin after the death of his own son, in another terrible car accident. He said "never say untimely violent death is the will of God. At that critical moment, God's heart is the first to break". The eulogy for Alex Coffin is here.

I have no idea what else to say.

52 comments:

Zany Mom said...

My heart goes out to them. My kids get an extra hug tonight.

Bonnie Shimko said...

There are no words -- just tears.

2readornot said...

How horrible...my thoughts and prayers to that family and all their friends!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing you can say. Just be there for them.

Anonymous said...

For all the words available for use in this world, there are none good enough to offer up for such a tragedy.

Children should never die . . .

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Holy shit, that hits too close too home. My son's name is eerily similar to that poor little boy's.

Sounds like an extra meaningful Kaddish this week at services.

Lorra said...

Once you become a parent, it is the one loss you pray you will never be asked to endure. This family's pain is unimaginable. My prayers are with them.

Jay Lake said...

I sit here with my daughter as I read this, and cannot conceive of such heartbreak. Ah, me.

No words suffice.

Writerious said...

Oh, Lordy. That's every parent's nighmare, no matter what age your kids are. You never quite get past the "if only I'd done this or that" part, either -- even when you've done all the right things, like strap your kids into the best car seats. My heart bleeds for this family.

BNY said...

Incredibly sad story, incredibly beautiful eulogy.

Anonymous said...

I nearly lost a child to a disease that is fatal in 80% of the cases. It's the most awful thing fate can do to a parent.

Tattieheid said...

Heartbreaking. My thoughts go out to them.

Amnesiatica said...

I heard tell of this last week and though I know no one involved, the sadness nearly moved me to tears.

MichaelPH said...

Whatever it means...my heartfelt condolences.

Manic Mom said...

I was just coming over to Snark to "jokingly" tell you I was sorry for your loss, so sure you would have posted something snarky about George Clooney's pet pig dying, and I saw this here instead.

So tragic, I cannot even imagine what his loss is like. This is the worst type of loss, the death of a child.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

My heart and prayers go out to them. Just the thought makes me.....

Manic Mom said...

I can't even get through the Alex Coffin eulogy. It's bedtime, and if I finish reading it, there is no chance I'll ever get to sleep.

I hope and pray every day that my three children outlive me. Every day.

Kim said...

There are no words...

From one parent to another, they have my deepest sympathy.

Southern Writer said...

I hope Mr. Greenberg and his family will find comfort for their loss. There's a wonderful book called The Heart of Grief by Thomas Attig... someone should get it for them. Condolences to the family - to the parents for the loss of their son, and to their other son for the loss of his brother. My heart goes out to them.

Lou said...

There is one, and only one, thing you can say, and that is: "I'm so sorry."

There is an important thing you can do, and that's be there afterwards - long afterwards. Most parents who lose children say the rest of the world avoids them and keeps silent in that first year or two 'afterwards'.

I couldn't think what to say or do a year after my foster sister's beautiful young daughter died. So I sent the parents flowers in her memory, on the anniversary of her death. They said the flowers were the only acknowledgement they received that it *was* the anniversary, and they were so pleased someone had remembered and thought of them.

Ted W. Gross said...

There honestly, Miss Snark, is nothing to say. I suffered the loss of my own daughter, at two and a half and eulogized her as well. It is something that never leaves one, and you are obviously never the same afterwards. Truth be told, it is one of those times, where words really do not suffice. Sometimes just the silence and pain and empathy from all those who shed the silent, eternal tear is greater than any possible words. Sometimes silence and sharing the pain of others is indeed the only thing we can do.

LampLighter said...

This is a tragedy beyond words. The loss and injuries are enough, but Mr. Greenberg will need endless support when he returns to work. Head injury patients react in different ways but the loss of short term memory and being able to follow logical progression is a devastating hurdle for anyone of the writerly bent. It often takes 2-3 years for the brain to recover and when you add to that the complication of the loss of a child...

These parents need to be held and nurtured and sheltered and helped for a good long time to come.

Ray Goldensundrop said...

yep

words come later

Sharra said...

All you can do is be there. Words make death cheap, sometimes, since there simply isn't anything you can say to make that amount of pain go away.
But it helps to know people care for you and grieve with you.

ex-ed said...

So terrible I don't know what to say. My deepest condolences to the family.

KC said...

News like this puts everything in such stark perspective. I will say a prayer for this family.

Alley Splat said...

I'm so sorry - it's so incredibly sad.

Christine said...

Poor Daniel and his family. I can't even imagine.


Thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

When my 2 year old was diagnosed with a terminal disease, I was hurt by how many people never said a word about it. Logically, I understood that they "didn't know what to say," or "didn't want to remind me of the pain," but it still hurt, still angered me.

It's always okay to simply say, "I'm so sorry," no matter what the tragedy.

Heatheness said...

Those poor, poor people.

While I'm sorry to have heard this tragic story, in a way I appreciate that MS shared it with us. I think it reset my usual holiday angstorator all the way back to zero. Before I read the piece, I dreaded 90% of what was in the near future, holiday-wise. But right now, I'm just glad my family exists at all. Nothing else matters.

Kim Stagliano said...

KS
There are no words.

Ric said...

To the Greenbergs - my deepest heartfelt sympathies.
To Miss Snark - bravo for finding that incredibly moving piece.
To everyone else - who will be hugging their children a little tighter this evening, events like these put our petty problems into much better focus.

I Said said...

Really puts things in perspective. I just can't begin to feel what the family and friends are going through. My prayers are for them.

the fool said...

That Life endureth after thou hast gone,
O Death, should flush thy face and cause thee shame;
for every life thou may steal, Man will spawn
tens of thousands more than before thee came
whose hearts hold memories of those thou reap
fonder than any joy thou may derive.
I loved a child thou claimed as thine to keep
and love him will I while yet still alive
that he may remain living, to draw breath
as I breathe, that his heart may beat, though slain,
to escape thy feeble clutches, O Death.
Gloat not, O Death; thou dost labor in vain.
Hear our voices joined as Men now do sing,
"Where now, O Death, is thy terrible sting?"

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for this family. Today, I go with my community to celebrate the life of the 16 year-old daughter of dear friends. She died Saturday from injuries sustained in a car accident. While I remember Leslie Allen McCraw today, I'll also remember Samuel Greenberg. My thoughts and prays for both families will continue long afterwards. As a small part of this world, and as a parent, I grieve with them.

Elektra said...

I'm not a parent, and can't even imagine this sort o pain. However, as a basic human being, I want to go down to that newpaper office and scream. Some of those sentences were ones that I know would haunt me, were I the driver of the car, when there was really obviously nothing he could have done differently (and he managed to save three other lives, to boot).

Kate Thornton said...

I am so very sorry.

Thank you, Miss Snark, for putting the world in perspective. The loss of a child is worse than anything.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing the eulogy--absolutely the most touching piece I've ever read.

Kandy said...

As a mom of five (ages 10-2), I have days when I want to rip my hair out. We take so much for granted and it sometimes takes a tragedy to remind us of what's really important--good health, a home and family to be with. My prayers and sympathy for the two families.

Jane Lebak said...

Miss Snark, if you can bear to do it, please send them a note on the monthly anniversaries of Samuel's death for a few months. People think the parents are "over it" or "don't want to be reminded," but the truth is that after the first six weeks, the parents' shock wears off. The shock makes them look like they're "doing well," but then that's gone, and all the support has dried up.

The grief gets worse over time, reaching the absolute worst between three and six months, and then only begins to creep up slowly. It takes two years to regain anything like "normal." Especially when it comes as such a shock like this.

Been there, done that, worn the t-shirt. :-(

B. Dagger Lee said...

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”

--C.S. Lewis, _A Grief Observed_


yrs, B. Dagger Lee

katiesandwich said...

I didn't read the article. I clicked on the link and saw the first two paragraphs, and I had to stop. I have a two year old, and I just can't imagine the horror of losing her or my son like that. My sympathy and prayers...

Maprilynne said...

Makes the sound of my almost 2 year old wailing in the other room sound much less shrill.
My heart goes out to them; what an immense trial.
The whole family will be in my heart today.

writtenwyrdd said...

There is nothing worse than the death of a child. So sad.

Saralee said...

My heart goes out to the family for their loss. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Saralee

Bill Peschel said...

Let me second Ted Gross' statement, and everyone else's here as well.

Having a child can unlock the heart and open it to the greatest mysteries of love, as well as the terror of loss. These are connected; we cannot embrace the joys of one without the sorrow of the other. That is our birthright and it is irrevocable. We can only press on in the face of inevitable loss and seize our joy while we can.

And realize that nothing that I said is of the least use to the parents. In the end, I can only offer my sympathies for what they must be going through. It is a true tragedy to lose a child, at any age.

Manic Mom said...

To anonymous above who's child was diagnosed with a terminal disease, I too, am sorry. That's usually what I say to people who have a terrible tragedy in their lives... that I actually don't know what to say, but I'm here for them, and I'm sorry.

That's all you can do. Be there when you're needed.

So, God bless you and your family.

Conduit said...

I won't comment on this directly as I'm uncomfortable discussing the personal tragedy of someone I don't know. However, it made me think of the wonderfully sad poem by Seamus Heaney, Mid-Term Break. It can be found here...

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/mid-term-break/

Very sad.

Little Mr Square Eyes said...

The dragonfly hunter - today,
what place has he
got to, I wonder...
Chiyo-ni

Anonymous said...

Their boy. Their beautiful, beautiful baby boy.

I am so sad for them.

Tori Scott said...

I just read about this, and my heart goes out to the Greenberg family. There is nothing more tragic than the loss of a child. No words can ever be enough, but I will keep them in my prayers.

Georgiana said...

I'm so sorry.