It's been a very long time since I have written a post, but sometimes we need to take a break from something for a while. Feeling the overwhelming pain of loved ones who are grieving this holiday season, I felt the need to share my heart with you.
I lost my 9 year old son in 1998, and the "firsts" were terrible....first Thanksgiving, first birthday, first Christmas.....and I have to confess that they are still difficult even after all these years. We go through a time of grieving what we had with our loved ones, reliving memories and wishing they were still with us. But we also go through a time of grieving what we realize we will never have. With each passing year, we think about the experiences we will not have with them - getting a driver's license, renting a tux for prom, graduation, marriage, etc.
As I visited with a friend who recenly lost a son, she shared with me how people around her have reacted to his death. Some are overly talkative about the details of the event, while others don't even acknowledge that something tragic has happened. I've come to realize over time that there are reasons for both and that we have to learn to give our friends and family grace. The truth is, they just don't get it - and that's ok. There is no way to understand what it is like to lose a child unless it has happened to you personally. You cannot compare a miscarriage, the loss of a sibling, parent or any other loved one to the pain of losing your baby that you brought into this world. Please hear me, I am not dismissing the pain of your loss, I am just saying it is different.
So, to those who are hurting and trying desperately to get through this month, I offer you this....prayer that you will reach out to Jesus who feels your pain and loves you. He knows exactly how you feel and what you think and it is OK to cry, scream and be angry. Feel what you feel. But also try to ask Him to give you comfort and peace and allow Him to love you and wrap His arms around you. He gave me strength when I had none left within myself and He gave me peace when I was raging inside. Try not to isolate yourself - I know you don't want to be around anyone, especially those celebrating with their children, but at least have coffee with someone you love and talk about your child. Write! It really does help to write what is going on inside of you. When I couldn't talk, I wrote letters to my son, telling him how I felt.
I believe that those who avoid us and don't talk to us during this time do so out of fear. Every parent's worst nightmare is losing a child, so when they are confronted with our loss, they have to face their biggest fear and just can't handle it, so give them grace. To the ones who are curious and ask too many questions, just tell them if you are not ready to talk about it - you have permission to control the conversation. If you don't have anyone to talk to, please email me and let me walk through Christmas with you. firstname.lastname@example.org
And to those of you who don't know what to do or say to the one who has lost a child, let me help you. Do NOT tell them that you know how they feel, even if you have lost a child of your own.....we all go through this experience differently. Do NOT ignore them or avoid talking to them - let them know you love them and are thinking about them. Some times a silent hug speaks more than anything you can say.
Don't ask a lot of questions about the details of the illness or accident, let them initiate those. But do give them permission to talk about their child, and PLEASE let them cry. People would stop talking with me as soon as they saw tears and say "I don't want to make you cry" or "I didn't mean to upset you". Guess what? We're already upset and have been crying 20 out of 24 hours a day, so let us cry! Tears are cleansing and we need to release as much pain as possible.
My heart is heavy for my friends who are suffering right now, and the pain of my own loss feels fresh. What I can do, and what I know is most significant, is pray. We have a Father in heaven who loves us even more than we love our children, and He is taking great care of them until we get there. They are happy and carefree and will never again feel any pain or disappointment. I know it is hard to believe this right now, but there will be a day when you will feel joy and happiness again. As I gave my heartache over to God again and again, He continues to heal and comfort me. I can now enjoy life and laugh and love and talk about my son with others... yes, I may still have some tears, but I am OK, and you will be, too.
So I ask, Father, that you reach out to those who are hurting right now, missing their precious children. Make them aware of Your presence and Your heart for them, and give them comfort. Flood their hearts with peace and give them supernatural strength to make it through the next few days, in the name of Jesus.
I Praise You, Lord, for who You are and for all that You have done for me, No Matter What I may feel or experience in life. You are worthy of all praise and all glory.
Blessings, sweet friends....my heart is with you.
Merry Christmas! Melissa