Dearest Roberta and Phillip,
Surely there is nothing more difficult for a parent to go through than what you are facing now. Tom’s suffering has come to an end, yet yours continues on. I believe that there are no moral implications concerning Tom’s death. His passing is a direct result of his illness, a condition you tried in so many ways to relieve but which, for many reasons, could not be cured.
I have always admired your unswerving dedication to his well-being over the years. You loved him like no other; you have been wonderful parents for him. It makes no sense to wonder what more you could have done: you cherished him deeply and cared for him beautifully — as best you could for as long as you could. And that must be enough. Let it be enough. The rest now, is in God’s loving and healing hands.
I believe that God suffers with you in this great tragedy. God walks closely with you especially in these most difficult moments, loving you tenderly as you face the harsh realities of hurt and loss, of regret and anger, of confusion and powerlessness. You are God’s dearly beloved, as is Tom, who has finally found rest and peace.
I pray that you, too, might find consolation, acceptance and peace in the days and months ahead. I pray that you will find much to give thanks for in Tom’s too-short life, that you will celebrate his goodness and genius and the gift that he was, despite his illness. I pray that ultimately you will find the will and the courage to trust again in the fundamental goodness of life, even in the face of your searing sorrow and unretrievable loss.
I pray that you will forgive Tom and that you will forgive yourselves. I especially pray that you will forgive God for what has happened so that you can go on from this suffering place to live once more that gifted, giving life that is a hallmark of who you are.
Acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude and trust — these gifts coming at different times and in different ways — will see you through your present devastation and lead you to an even stronger place of understanding in the midst of this great mystery.
Please know of my and Elizabeth’s love, now and always.