Rough wind, that moanest loud
Grief too sad for song;
Wild wind, when sullen cloud
Knells all the night long;
Sad storm, whose tears are vain,
Bare woods, whose branches strain,
Deep caves and dreary main,—
Wail, for the world’s wrong!
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Monday morning, we awoke to headlines in the local paper that a 16-year-old boy had died in a car crash the night before, less than a mile from where we were putting our children to bed, and it turned out that he and his family lived more or less literally in my mother's back yard. I didn't know the young man or his family, but it was still heart-rending. The boy had just gotten his license recently. Another young man in the car with him is in the hospital, in critical condition last I heard.
I can only imagine the one family's grief, the other's heart-sick worry. "Wail, for the world's wrong!" And so close to Christmas, I fear the season will come around with grief for years, if not for ever.
Another poem that perhaps speaks their heart is W.H. Auden's "Funeral Blues":
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,Silence the pianos and with muffled drumBring out the coffin, let the mourners come.Let aeroplanes circle moaning overheadScribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.He was my North, my South, my East and West,My working week and my Sunday rest,My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;I thought that love would last for ever; I was wrong.The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Less dramatically, but even closer to our hearts, Lauren's father called to tell us that her mother is in the hospital after what has turned out to be a non-heart-attack cardiac event. Due to further issues that arose while she was in the hospital, she will remain there until Thursday or Friday. She's expected to be fine, but of course it's worrisome, and although we'll be visiting her in the hospital tomorrow, it just won't be the same as waking up to Christmas morning with her or spending Christmas even all together as a family. It was strange to get to their house and not see her usual warm welcome. Splitting Christmas between my in-laws' house and the hospital is not what we expected.
Still, knowing the kind of tragedy that others are dealing with this Christmas,we feel fortunate that it doesn't appear to be anything more serious than it is.