Thursday, August 18, 2005

When Silence Speaks Best

When my son was 14 years old, he was hit by a car and very seriously injured. He suffered many broken bones, needed surgery, spent time in ICU, several more days in the hospital, and then months in physical therapy.

But ultimately, none of that mattered. Because he healed and, most importantly, he was alive.

I remember just a few weeks after Matt’s accident, another boy in our city was hit by a car. The circumstances of this second accident were eerily similar. The boy, also named Matt, was hit while crossing the street. His older sister was watching from the other side of the street as the accident occurred, just as my daughter watched our Matt. The boy was hit into the air by a brown car, his classmates looking on in horror, and his shoes were knocked off his feet. All these details, exactly what happened to my Matt.

With one major exception. This second little boy died.

I felt deeply connected to this second Matt’s mother. I remember the cold chill her grief-stricken wails gave me as I watched the evening news. I remember my fear and panic the day of the accident. How near had Fate led me to such bottomless sorrow! For days, this bereft mother was on my mind and in my prayers. I wanted to write to her. I tried to, several times. But no words would come; there was nothing to write.

Because the reality is, her son was dead. Mine is alive. And truly, there was nothing more to say.

I feel the same about the Cindy Sheehan story. I am unqualified to address her situation, her state of mind, or her actions. I have no right to do so. Her son is dead, and mine is alive.

And truly, there is nothing more to say.