Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Lincoln’

Remember fathers who’ve lost children, and children who’ve lost fathers today

June 17, 2012

Abraham Lincoln constantly attended funerals while President, even on Christmas. Few of us know what to say when we go to a funeral, but he would say this, “I want to condole with you.”

Several of Abe and Mary Lincoln’s offspring died as children, maybe most notably Willie who died while living in the White House. Only Robert Lincoln outlived his parents.

How did Abraham Lincoln survive so much pain in his life? His wife was driven to madness by so much grief, he suffered the same losses, and the country was burning under his watch. as it endured one of the bloodiest wars in history.

I think that we can take a hint from those words, ” I want to condole with you.”  He didn’t send condolences, as we are prone to do now,  he was intent on condoling with grieving people – present tense sharing of pain. He kept it real -not easy to do when you are the President.

 I think somehow it strengthened him, helped not feel so alone with his own grief and troubles, offered him persepective. Only a truly great man would do it, and it was part of what made him great.

He understood what Eleanor Roosevelt meant when she said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I hope we can resurrect the word ‘ condole’, and it might be something all of us can remember to do today for fathers who’ve lost children, and children who’ve lost fathers.

%d bloggers like this: