A rare insight into parental grief from a fiction writer.
“No one ever thinks of what a violation of the natural order one's child's death means until they have a child themselves. For a parent, there is no greater experience of disorder than their child's death. Suddenly the hours break down, night suppresses day, blood crystallises into wounding needles. Theirs is a scream that gets drowned in a void, a grief whose venom is like no other. Their world shatters, like a mirror on which their image had been reflecting. […]
I ventured into the notion of my daughters' death as if into a nightmare which ultimately was but an exorcism. “If I imagine it, it won't happen, because fiction never ever mixes up with life”, I would tell myself by way of relief. But the nightmare lasted a few years, the years I needed so as to assimilate the fact that, if death happened, it would be an unavoidable reality. I cannot say that I prayed, although I was very close to doing so. The gesture with which I rejected such a recourse was, I think, what brought me back to serenity. No one is the keeper of their future, or at least, no one can say they are until they overtake it and are able to hide that future within their own life, like a part of their own selves. That is why I thought that, if at some point in time I suffered the misfortune of losing one of my daughters, my problem would not be to lose her, but rather worse, to accept my life without her. However, I didn't feel that way about Clara, my wife. Clara's death, just like my own would have to be for her, was a natural event, within the natural order of things, like leaves falling from deciduous trees every autumn. Loneliness, loss, grief…, these would then be the consequences of compliance with one of the laws of life. But a child's death leaves the parent suspended between two voids, a before and an after, and loneliness, grief and loss become an unnatural horror where all hope and all incentive are consumed in themselves, without any support at all, without any consolation.”
Jose Maria Guelbenzu, El amor verdadero [True Love], p.549-50. My own translation.