Derbyshire Freemason Tom Tait shares how the lessons and brotherhood of Freemasonry have helped him regain some emotional equilibrium after the loss of his son.
My son Kenny died suddenly in February this year. My close friends know that I am not one to 'emotionally bleed' over others but need to isolate myself in such circumstances. To try and cope with the intense grief, I reflected daily upon my thoughts, feelings, and how I was going to get through the next day. During this time, it became clear to me that Freemasonry was playing an increasing role in helping me achieve an improved emotional equilibrium.
The sudden and tragic loss of a loved one, especially a child, is an unimaginable heartbreak that can shatter one's world. As an experienced Freemason, I have found solace and support within the fraternity during the darkest chapter of my life. In this reflective narrative, I aim to express the impact that Freemasonry had on my journey of healing and how its teachings and brotherhood have helped me navigate the overwhelming grief that accompanies the loss of a son.
The news of Kenny's sudden passing sent shockwaves through my entire being, leaving me numb and questioning the very fabric of life. In those early days of grief, I found myself lost, drowning in an ocean of despair. It was during this period that the support and compassion of my brethren became a lifeline. They were there, not only as friends but as a family, offering unwavering support, understanding, and a shoulder to lean on.
Within Freemasonry, I found a safe space to openly express my grief, fears, and frustrations. The bond of brotherhood became a powerful source of strength as fellow Freemasons who had experienced their own life tragedies shared their stories, providing a glimmer of hope that healing is possible. Their empathy and genuine care helped me realise that I was not alone in my pain and that there was a path forward, no matter how bleak it may have seemed. A further comfort was the firm of Undertakers we engaged to take care of the funeral arrangements was owned and managed by two experienced and well respected Derbyshire brethren who could not have done more to support my family with the complexities facing us.
The teachings of Freemasonry became a guiding light during the darkest hours of my grief. The belief in the immortality of Kenny's soul, journeying beyond physical existence, reassured me during the sleepless nights and offered a framework for understanding and processing my emotions. The importance of self-reflection and resilience became even more relevant as I sought to navigate the complex emotional landscape of loss. The virtues of fortitude, patience, and temperance became central to my coping mechanisms, helping me face each day with courage and determination as I struggled to support family members with the shock of what had happened and my analytical brain constantly trying to make sense of it all.
Freemasons rallied around my family, offering practical assistance, financial support, and heartfelt condolences. The acts of kindness, both big and small, reminded me that there is goodness in the world despite the immense pain I was experiencing. The collective effort to alleviate suffering, demonstrated by my brethren, reinforced my belief in the power of compassion and reminded me of the importance of extending a helping hand to others in need.
As I traversed the path of grief, Freemasonry was a constant companion, helping me to engage in a profound journey of self-discovery which was not of my making. I reflected upon the teachings of the craft, seeking solace in the wisdom imparted by the fraternity, contemplating the finite nature of life, and identifying Kenny's legacy through his actions and contributions to his family and wider society. I focussed on the positive impact he made, which will extend beyond his life. The bonds of brotherhood, unity, and compassion I experienced became an anchor, offering moments of respite from the overwhelming sorrow. But through this exploration, I began to understand the significance of Kenny's life, cherishing the memories and embracing the lessons he taught me during his short time on Earth.
In conclusion, Freemasonry has been an unwavering source of comfort, strength, and guidance throughout my journey of coping with the sudden loss of my son. The fraternity's teachings and the genuine brotherhood of its members have provided a sanctuary for healing and growth. While the pain of losing a child will forever be a part of me, Freemasonry has provided me with the tools and support necessary to navigate this grief with resilience and hope. I am immensely grateful for the profound impact Freemasonry has had on my ability to cope, find meaning, and ultimately move forward on the path towards healing.