by Jane Turley
Have you ever wondered how you will die? I suspect the most satisfactory outcome for most of us would be to slip away peacefully in our sleep after a long and fruitful life. However, in my experience, that is unlikely to be the case. In fact, when I look back at the lives of people I’ve loved and lost death has either been a long and painful process or sudden and dramatic. Either way, there was no easy way to come to terms with their loss. It was only the passing of time, the knowledge that natural death comes to us all and my belief in another existence that helped to ease my sorrow.
But what if death is unnatural? What if death is caused by a bizarre misfortune, a car crash or negligence? How does one deal with such a loss? How does one deal with exacerbated feelings of guilt, rage and injustice? Does it make you embrace your beliefs or abandon them? And what if something worse were to happen? What about the ultimate sin?
What happens if your child is murdered?
Imagine all the feelings of loss you’ve ever had, multiply them tenfold, a thousand fold even, and maybe you’d still only be half way to experiencing the horror of being the parent of a murder victim. Fortunately, child murder is something only very few of us will experience but I’m sure most of us can empathize and understand how it might call into question fundamental beliefs.
So as a parent with a religious upbringing it was with trepidation that I approached two hugely popular books which featured themes of child abduction and murder and visions of heaven; The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and