Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines heartbreak as crushing grief, anguish, or distress. It is a word not to be tossed around half heartedly; it is a powerful description of the one who is heartbroken. To be heartbroken is to feel like one’s own soul has been swallowed, heart crushed, and the body a barren wasteland. To lose a child breaks one’s heart. Heartbreak.

He was going to be a big brother. In just two weeks, a new baby brother will be welcomed home and yet, he will not be there. His birthday is next week, next week. He would have been just two years old. Heartbreak.

In an instant, life changes. One second or perhaps one minute and life, as we know it, will never ever be the same. How can that be? It just doesn’t seem fair. It’s not fair. Life is not fair. My dad says life is fair in that it is unfair to everyone. Heartbreak.

Deacon. A blond boy with an impish smile and sparkling eyes. When a child is lost in a small community, the devastation is palpable. Mothers grieve for the mother who is heartbroken. We cry, we pray, we wonder, we want to do something, anything to lessen the terrible pain, but to no avail. Heartbreak.

Why? We scream and beg the heavens for a do-over. Why can’t we rewind those moments when the unthinkable happens? Why don’t we get second chances? Why do some get a miracle? Does God hate me? To live with that grief seems impossible to the ones on the sidelines. They haven’t learned yet that a heart still beats even when it is broken beyond recognition. Heartbreak.

I had a big brother and he was wonderful. He had many more years than Deacon, 17 more and that seems like a whole life in comparison. My mother and father were heartbroken. There was nothing anyone could say or do to erase the terrible gauging of their souls; I couldn’t breathe with the acknowledgement of his death and so, I ran. I ran and ran until I could run no further and still, heartbreak.

It was God’s plan, they said. He’s in a better place, they said. God needed him, they said. Someday you’ll understand, they said. He was chosen because he was special, they said. No, I said. No. No. No. No. None of those things are even close to the truth. Heartbreak.

His life was precious, they should have said. He was a wonderful boy and you will miss him terribly, they should have said. He would have loved having a little brother, they should say. Your heart is broken and as you weep, He weeps too. You want him back, you say. I know, He says. I know. Heartbreak.

He was a precious gift, I say. My heart breaks for you, we all say.

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