I originally wrote this column just before Thanksgiving one year, but the recent tragic deaths of the Newtown first-graders make it timely once again. For families who have lost a child, each holiday brings fresh grief, hurdles to face, and mourning for celebrations that will never happen.
The glittering commercialism and noisy cheer of any American holiday can be stressful for most of us. But for the parent who’s lost a child during the past year, facing the first of many holidays with an empty place at the table can make already unbearable grief so much worse.
No one in modern America expects a child to die. Children only die in nineteenth century novels and third-world countries, or so we’d like to think.