Friday 28 April 2017

Sitting in judgment on grief

The remains of Liam Hawe follow his mother Clodagh as they arrive at the church for funeral mass in Castlerahan Photo:Gerry Mooney.
The remains of Liam Hawe follow his mother Clodagh as they arrive at the church for funeral mass in Castlerahan Photo:Gerry Mooney.
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

We cannot tell anyone how to grieve. We cannot tell anyone how to feel at life's most acute and traumatic moments. We cannot sit miles away in judgment and find people wanting for not conforming to whatever agendas the rest of us wish to attach to their grief.

Families, communities, need to do what they need to do to get through awful times, to get through the madness of grief. The extended family, friends and community who mourn the Hawes, of Ballyjamesduff, are suffering a grief more maddening than most of us will ever know. They have been left with nothing. They don't even have anyone left to comfort, except maybe each other.

In a modern world that sometimes talks too much and thinks too little, the busybodies were straight down to it. First it was expressions of shock and grief. But then, very quickly, it moved to the meta-analysis of how this tragedy was being treated. First it was that Clodagh Hawe was apparently made invisible initially as everyone focused on the three boys. As if it were not human nature to think first about the children. It may not be right. But we do that. Cavan, Nice, the beaches of the Mediterranean. . . Children dying tragically is a different kind of affront to our humanity. Why do we remember Warrington so acutely? Jonathan Ball and Tim Parry, two children. How many other victims of the IRA were there whose names we don't remember?

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