Occasionally you hear news that doesn’t just stop you in your tracks, it occupies every spare inch of your brain.
A late night text, as is often the way these days, was the start of it; an old schoolfriend had died – losing her battle against cancer.
Although we’d not been in contact for years, memories of her seemingly endless positivity, multi kilowatt smile and effervescent spirit instantly flooded back.
This was a tragedy indeed – a life cruelly claimed by the most heartless of diseases.
Then came another text – she had left behind a husband and two small children.
With that, instantly, inevitably and shamefully someone else’s suffering was internalised and as a father of two children under five myself I began to explore the jet black questions that arise in my head.
How would I cope?
How could I cope?
How would a questioning four year old boy digest the fact that Daddy doesn’t have the answer to this query, where has Mummy has gone and when will she be back?
How can you tell a two year old that Mummy won’t come to him – ever again – no matter how hard he calls for her?
And when they finally do stop calling how would you deal with the devastating realisation that they may never remember her, not properly, not fully, not like you will?
Question after question comes into mind, all triggered by this hideous loss and the emotional canyon it leaves in its wake, but scant few answers follow – the awful enormity of imagining how it would feel simply paralyses me.
The truth is though that when these most dire of circumstances are actually served up to us, when we are forced to summon up the sheer guts to carry on, we somehow find a way to do just that.
We have to, so we do.
I hope with all my heart that’s the case for this family.