The thought of losing a child is every parent’s worse nightmare. After giving birth to my first child, Robb, I couldn’t believe how much love I instantly felt for him. When I held him in my arms and looked down at his little body, his sweet face, eyelids so sheer I could see the tiniest of blue veins, the sweet smell of him drifting up to me, I was filled with joy. But too, there was a little fearful feeling in my head over what it would be like if something happened to that precious bundle I was already so in love with.
Many years later, our first-born son, Robb, passed unexpectedly and tragically at thirty-seven years of age, due to heart complications. When we received the call from our daughter-in-law that he had died, it was like we had instantly descended into Hell.
Loss of Child
We didn’t know what to do, where to go, what to think. How could this have happened to him? He was so young and vibrant, interested in everything, in all the life around him and in him. I couldn’t help think of all the love and nurturing that had gone into his young life, caring for him, raising him, nursing him when he was sick and taking him to the doctors when he needed that, teaching him all the things he needed to know to keep him safe in this crazy world, taking him to his hockey and baseball games, watching his successes and failures. Guiding him when he needed help with homework, typing papers for him in high school and at the same time telling him he needed to take a typing class for college, getting him swimming lessons, dropping him off at a friend’s house, helping him learn to drive a car, crying over him when he had an accident driving the car.
I remembered his graduation from high school and his venturing off to college out-of-state. The many phone calls we received from him while he was away. His six-week adventure to Kenya with other students and professors from Northwestern University. The year and a half he spent teaching in Jamaica teaching school. His return to the States, his marriage to Leslie, his Master’s degree, his work in Africa for eleven years.
All of that and then, just like a bolt of lightening ripping through the sky, to receive a message that our son was dead was like a stab in the heart with a razor-sharp knife. How could it be that he would die before us? Why him? The pain was unbelievable and unendurable but endure we did, badly, like zombies, wondering when the pain would subside, how we’d go on living our lives, how would we, how could we, ever be happy again.
This site and book (Living Loving and Losing a Son) is devoted to my boy, Robb Rauth. It’s a mothers memoir about his life, death and how we grew up together. If you have recently lost someone you love, or god forbid, a child, my heart goes out to you.