To my friends who have recently lost or are preparing to lose their children…my heart is hurting for you. This is not a time for platitudes and my words may mean nothing during this traumatic time and that’s ok. I certainly am not the expert in how to prepare for such a loss. I’ve walked a similar path, but no two stories are ever the same. Your unique relationship with your child is precious and I know the thought of not having the tangible physical presence of your child takes your breath away. Honestly, it still takes mine away at times, when I’m missing my girl. I’ll offer some simple statements and pray that somehow you will be strengthened.
This is NOT the end of your child. They are “arrows:”
Psalms 127:4: Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
I wrote a blog about it here. Our lives are not time-lines with an end. You’re sending your child into eternity ahead of you, but they will live on with a future and a purpose. You will have more days ahead of you with your child in eternity, than you’ll ever have apart, if heaven is where you’re headed too.
I know you know this, but it’s worth saying….don’t wait to say what you want to say. Soak up every minute you have left with them. Hold them, smell them, look into their eyes and their souls and make sure they know how wonderful they are and how brave they have been. No regrets. However, it’s ok to leave the room for a minute. In her last days, sometimes Sarah needed a break from me. I had to respect that and give her time alone with other loved ones. It was hard. More often though, she wanted me right by her side and that time was precious. We did everything possible to honor her and her wishes.
Don’t take your eyes off Jesus. I recently watched the end of season 3 of The Chosen series…spoiler alert here…They include the bible story of Peter walking on the water and they took some artistic liberties to connect it to the topic of Peter and Eden’s grief of losing a child. Wow…did that hit me hard! Losing a child feels so much like being in the boat in the middle of the storm. Somehow, Chad and I have chosen to get out of the boat and just walk towards Jesus. I imagine Sarah standing next to Him and His hands reaching out to us. We want to go to him too, but our journey towards him is still full of things left here to do. When I look at the waves and wind, I sink, but when I lock eyes with Him and remember who He is….somehow I rise above the storm. He’s got you too, friend. He won’t let go. You will hear many people express that they could never imagine losing a child. We can’t either. We are living and surviving the impossible. You can too.
Your child will receive healing soon. It’s disappointing that it’s probably not going to be an earthly healing. It’s perfectly ok to get mad about that, but always be honest with God about your feelings. He knows when you’re pretending and He can take it. It doesn’t change His feelings towards you. He knows what’s it’s like to give up a son. He knows that you can’t see the end of the story yet. Believe in your heart that you can trust Him with your child. As hard as it is too imagine, He loves your child even more than you do. Let that sink in. Along with a heavenly healing comes so much more than we could ever give them here. I have found comfort in realizing that there’s a lot of things that happen here that she will never have to suffer through because she is in heaven. She is protected forevermore and she is only experiencing complete and perfect love, joy and peace. I believe it will takes us about 2 seconds in heaven to forget all the pain that this world caused.
I wish I could tell you that eventually the pain will lesson. Over time you will learn to carry the pain differently. You will get stronger, but it won’t lessen it. You somehow grow around it. One of the best analogies that I’ve related to is that it is sort of like having an amputation. You learn to live a part from them, but not without them. It’s not easy at all. You’ll need help sometimes, but that’s ok. Other parents who’ve lost children connect deeply with each other because not many people understand. Reach out when you’re ready and you’ll be embraced.
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