Published Sunday, January 20, 2013

A father's grief after the death of his son

Memory, as long as it lasts, can take you back to vividly experienced events that touched your life.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been much in the news this week. His stirring addresses that seemed to come from the depths of his heartfelt feelings have been acclaimed by some as being among the greatest of the century.

I can remember news accounts of his assassination occupied the headlines of newspapers and filled TV screens for many days.

Many mourned his death, but when you come right down to dealing with the loss of a loved one, it is a personal family matter which stabs the heart with the knife of grief.

And so it was with the death of King.

On the day after, a leading Atlanta Baptist minister asked me to go with him to visit the grieving Dr. Martin Luther King Sr., father of the slain son.

We rang the bell of his Atlanta residence and were told that the elder King was in the backyard.

We found him there, shook hands and expressed our sympathy. I shall never forget his first words to us: “They killed my boy.”

The words came from the lowest depths of a grieving heart.

We left with a new understanding of how deep a hurt can be and a new determination to bring as much sympathy as we could to as many as we could so that grief-stricken people we knew would not grieve alone.

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