Your son has died, but you know only when. You don’t know where he died, or how.
He was a soldier. There’s been fighting and unrest nearby, but your government won’t acknowledge that. Someone is fighting there, but it might as well be phantoms because there’s no official word.
Your son has a secret funeral, held early in the morning (others are held late at night) to limit the number of people who find out.
When a reporter comes calling and asks you how your son died, you say something like, “You have more ways of finding out than we do.”
But graves don’t lie. Something is killing these young men, dozens, maybe hundreds of them in the past few months.
This is what’s happening in Russia. Soldiers are being sent to fight in Ukraine, but the Russian government won’t admit this.
But information has a way of seeping out, like lava bubbling out of a mountain when enough pressure forms. Families of soldiers, and soldiers themselves, are creating databases and posting on social media.
Read more in today’s New York Times. I was intrigued by this story as someone who grew up in cemeteries and witnessed how a community comes together to share grief and loss. It’s hard for me to imagine someone trying to keep death a secret. How absurd.