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Last night we were watching Madam Secretary, and one of the characters, in an effort to comfort another, used a quote from Søren Kierkegaard I’d never heard before. She said,

The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you’ll never have.

It caught me by surprise and I sat there for a minute trying to figure out what it said to me. Then I backed the program up and wrote it down. What it made me think of was my son Bran and his soon-to-be ex-wife. After six years of being separated, Bran has finally initiated divorce proceedings. And since it will be uncontested, their marriage will be dissolved in 91 days from the time Mariel signs and returns the papers.

Drollery and I went to see the lawyer with him, and even as I sat there I couldn’t help thinking how different their life might have been had they actually HAD time to be themselves together. When they were first married they moved in with Mariel’s folks in Florida. When Bran got a job interview in Utah, they came here and moved in with us. There was NEVER a time when they were on their own as a married couple. There was never a time for them to learn how to be married.

I know Bran and Mariel have reconciled themselves to this situation, that it’s not any of my business, and yet I think I am grieving in some way that future they’ll never have — but might have had the situation been different. I guess no parent wants to see their child hurting.

Interestingly, this morning I ran across that quote on another blog. It was a blog about the grief of losing a child. Gosh… That’s a poignant example of what Kierkegaard was saying. I pray none of us ever have to remember that kind of future we’ll never have…the child will never have…


Picture Source: Mapio.net