by Spence Colby
How do you cope with this feeling? We all have had it...
|The Death of a Child
The future hero, my savior, lies dead, fallen facedown in the dust. You did your best, but it’s time to call the code. The vitals are flat-lined, pull the cord, send the flowers. It can not be saved. You toss the lifeless corpse on the funeral pyre of unrealized dreams, unfulfilled potential, and squandered effort. It’s over.
Yet, even now, you play the “what-if” game with yourself. What if you had worked a little harder, tried a bit more. What if you applied some discipline in the rough spots, a daub of careful thought here or there, a breath of life, more pain, more blood…maybe it could be saved, resurrected. Turned back from the edge of the grave that yawns before. It could struggle erect, take off and soar with your wildest dreams. What if…
A crashing dark wave of despair wars with the tiny, flickering candle flame of hope. A flare of pride like a balloon blooms. This was, after all, your child, your creation, pulled from nothingness and brought to reality by the force of your will and a painful act of creation. But tiny sharp kitten teeth gnaw at your soul, pricking and needling, your doubts assail in ordered ranks of well rehearsed mayhem. Maybe your child, your work, your hope, is nothing but a self-deception, an affectation, a stroking of your ego in a void of your own making. In the cold stark light of hard logic it lies naked, exposed as nothing more than an illusion, just simple prattle. The futile outcome in trying to build a lofty cathedral from spider webs and fly ash. The talons of fear and doubt sink deeply. The pride balloon deflates with a flatulent whoosh and is reduced, in a bare heartbeat to a rag of residue, a scrap of debris, reeking of stale words and lost intent and focus. A nothing. The encroaching darkness, victorious, pushes the wreckage into a dim recess, a lost place, and scours all sense and traces of accomplishment before it. The fight may be in the distant corners of your heart, but your hand trembles in response.
The agony of the moment is a silken thread of exquisite torture, drawn from your center. A thin umbilical cord to your offspring, a slice of your soul, stillborn and wasted. You dither, willing yourself to be unsure. Now, with no hope left, still you strain to see a way to spare your child and redeem yourself. But in some secret, strong, and detached part of your mind the facts stand clear.
The story stinks on ice. The plot is weak and puerile, the ending is just stupid and anti-climatic, and the characters are torn from soggy cardboard, flat, soft, and undefined. It sucks. Pure and simple. The whole damn thing is lousy. Sigh and cut the cord. It’s one of your children, part of your soul and fruit of your life, but it’s one of the retarded ones that will never, should never, see the light of day. Shelve it and move on. Live to write another day.
Maybe the next will be the one, the hero, the one that saves you.