A heart wrenching mail landed in my box this morning. It said: yesterday our darling M died in a car crash. Please pray for him. M was the son of dear dear friends and must have been in his late twenties. I had last seen him when he was six or seven and that is the image I still carry of him. I cannot begin to imagine the excruciating pain his parents must be going through. In moments like these words offer scant succor. Perhaps silence says more. I did offer what little solace I could sitting thousands of miles away. I wish I had been there with them in this moment of grief.
To a parent the death of a child is the worst that could happen. No matter how old the child is, how difficult or exasperating, he is first and foremost your child, someone you gifted life to and to have that life cut short in front of your eyes is unbearable. I know how much parents suffer when they lose a child: my mother never forgot her firstborn son who died shortly after birth, a brother I never knew.
Today as I mourn the death of a young man, my thoughts go back to all the pwhy children who left us over the years and whom I have never forgotten: Rohan and Puja the two lovely toddlers murdered by vile predators, Sonu and his broken body that shielded an indomitable spirit, Nanhe and his dazzling smile that lit your darkest day, Saheeda and her zest for a life cut too short, little Anil whose heart did not withstand surgery and young Arun whose heart gave up for want of proper care, Heera the young girl with a broken heart so loved by her family who were unable to save her. And most of all Manu whose death I am still dealing with as he was the spirit of project why and its raison d'être. I rarely remember them all one a given day but today the death of a young man I knew as a child made me realise how deeply the death of these children affected me and how in spite of time gone by I still mourn then as my very own. May they rest in peace.