Posts Tagged Grief Loss and Bereavement
The path we walk is hard and long.
We have shared our tears and sorrow,
We have given encouragement to each other,
Given hope for a brighter tomorrow,
We share the title of grieving mother.
Some of us lost older daughters or sons,
Who we watched grow over the years.
Some have lost their babies before their lives begun,
But no matter the age, we cry the same tears.
We understand each others pain,
The bond we share is very strong,
With each other there is no need to explain,
The path we walk is hard and long.
Our children brought us together.
They didn’t want us on this journey alone.
They knew we needed each other
To survive the pain of them being gone.
So take my hand my friend,
We may stumble and fall along the way
But we’ll get up and try again
Because together we can make it day by day.
We can give each other hope,
We’ll create a place where we belong.
Together we will find ways to cope,
Because we are bereaved Moms and together
We are strong. ~ Anonymous
Today is the day. It has been one whole year since my son Kenny’s passing (March 2, 2014), and it seems as if time stood still. The pain is just as fresh. My heart is just as broken. The tears are just as frequent. And the memories ever present.
I have been trying to write this post for several days now but the right words never seem to come together. I think it’s because I was dishonest about my true feelings. I would love to tell another grieving mother–the pain of grief gets easier or even more bearable with time. I’d love to say the time will come when you won’t miss your child as much. I’d love to say all the things that might make our journey through grief less difficult. But I would not be honest with you, myself, and especially not with God.
As I wrote this post, I discovered something quite wonderful about God–God is not angry with us when we tell Him the truth. What God wants most from us is intimacy and intimacy with God is not possible unless we are honest. Of course, we need to be respectful because God is Holy, but we must be honest. Honesty is the beginning of intimacy with God.
As parents, naturally, we want to protect our children from suffering–but WE CAN’T — WE ARE NOT GOD! All we can do is release them into God’s loving care. That’s what I had to do with my son. And let me say this: “We have to totally “trust” God when we don’t have all the answers. We have to say, “God, I don’t understand, but I trust YOU.” “God, it hurts so much, but I trust YOU.” “God, I don’t know how I will ever get through this, but I trust YOU.” “God, this is the hardest test ever, but I trust YOU.” “God, I would have liked much more time with my child, but nevertheless, I thank YOU for the time we had.” I had to say, “Not my will, Father, but thy will be done!!”
Beloveds, I believe God has a purpose for allowing suffering. I may not know what that reason is, but I know what it is not. It is not that He does not love us–care for us–or desires to hurt or harm us.
Jesus, the Lamb of God was slain for our sins and loved us enough to suffer and die for us. No, we may never know or understand God’s reasons for allowing suffering, but here’s what I DO know about my child’s life. I know Kenny loved God. I know he lived a life that was pleasing to God. I know he was beloved of God. And what I am most certain of, and that keeps me in “perfect peace is — I know and I know that I know — it was well with my Kenny’s soul. Hallelujah!!
Yes, my sorrow continues to roll like sea billows. But beneath all my pain is the”Man of Sorrows — who is well acquainted with grief” and I believe He does ALL THINGS WELL IN HIS TIME!
“While praying one day a young woman asked, “Who are you Lord?” He answered, “I Am.” “But, Who is “I Am?” she said. And He replied, “I Am Love, I Am Peace, I Am Grace, I Am Joy, I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Light. I Am Strength. I Am Safety. I Am Shelter. I Am Power. I Am The Creator. I Am The Beginning and The End. I Am The Most High.”
The girl with tears in her eyes looked toward Heaven and said, “Now I understand. But Lord, Who Am I?”
Then God tenderly wiped the tears from her eyes and whispered, “YOU ARE MINE.”
This anonymous story reminded me of an innocent conversation I had with my daughter-in-law about something my son had “playfully” done in his youth. Surprised, she asked, “Who My Kenny?” And I quickly responded in my motherly tone, “No. MY Kenny.”
On March 2, 2014, God (the one who formed him in my womb) said, “NO! MY KENNY!”
PRAYER: Yes, we are yours, Lord. Thank you for reminders (no matter how painful), of WHO and WHOSE we truly are. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
This is my first post since the tragic loss of my son (Kenny) who was killed in a motorcycle accident on Sunday, March 2, 2014. On that fateful day; he stopped by my house as had become his custom. But that Sunday, church services ran extremely late and we missed each other. So he returned home and said to his wife, “I stopped by to see my mom, but she was still at church.” Then he said, “it’s such a beautiful day, I think I’ll go out for another ride.” He left and never returned to us.
Some hours later, I received a phone call from his wife saying, “He’s gone.” Those words stopped me in my tracks and to this day, still re-echo in my mind.” My child, my only son, a vital part of me–was gone. How could this be? The reality of this truth shattered me—Instantly, my heart and spirit were irretrievably broken!!
And it was not until I stumbled upon a series of articles by Dr. Ben Witherington, a great Theologian and Bible Scholar who lost his daughter, showed me the great strength I needed for this hour. Dr. Witherington clarified some things about grief and the grieving process for me, and I highly recommend his books for anyone who has lost a child. Clearly, he understands, there is no life event that rivals a parent’s grief at the loss of a child prematurely. He tackles both the practical and theological questions with grace. Here is an excerpt from one of his articles “Good Grief Soundings”:
“Having recently gone through the devastating experience of having our beautiful 32-year-old daughter die, completely unexpectedly . . . I was determined to be open to whatever positive thing there might be to glean from this. I cling by my fingernails to the promise of Romans 8:28 that “God works all things together for good for those who love him….”
I can tell you my friends, that the spirit of this woman of faith, who always had a rhema word for others was completely devastated. I was so lost that day. I cried for hours and days. In fact, the Psalmist paints the picture of my despair when he says, “I am poured out like water . . . My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me (Psalm 22:14).” When I heard those words, “He’s gone,” I ran from room to room then stood in the middle of the floor and screamed heavenward, “No! No! God, I can’t take this! This is too much!” I screamed from the top of my lungs, “No, not my child Lord. Please not my child!”
This is without a doubt, the hardest post I have ever written and I pray I will ever have to write. Dr. Witherington is stronger than I, to be able to debate Theology in the midst of what I am sure is unspeakable pain. But this post for me is not about my Theology–it is about personal grief and loss. I write this post from the depths of the heart and spirit of a grieving mother who is broken. I am completely changed. Life for me will never be the same. How can it be—I have lost a vital part of me. I am in indescribable and unimaginable emotional pain. And as much as I would like to inspire you today—I must be honest and authentic as I share my truth. I am grieving, but I am trying very hard to move forward and to begin writing regularly again. Please bear with me as I work through my pain. But trust me when I tell you my faith in God has not diminished. It is the very thing that has sustained me and kept me sane. And, I agree with Dr. Witherington when he says, “the beginning of “good grief” starts with the premise of a good God.” He also says, “Christians are the very ones to grieve deeply because they have loved and been loved deeply. For us grieving as those who have hope means grieving knowing that resurrection will reverse Death. It means we grieve knowing that Death will not have the last word about us. Life will.”
Even so, I am still grieving my beloved Kenny’s passing as if it happened yesterday–I desperately miss him every day and I cannot say with certainty when this pain will end. Perhaps that is why I was so deeply moved by the points in Dr. Witherington’s Article, “Good Grief: Soundings, Part Two – Five Things Not to Say to the Grieving.” I found (Point 2) particularly relevant and I pray Dr. Witherington will forgive me for substituting my son’s name in the following:
“People say, “You’ll get over it soon.” “Wrong!! I hope I never get over the loss of my (son). I don’t want to forget (his) love, (his) smile, (his) joys, (his) sorrows, and so many millions of other things that formed the sum total of (his) life. I do not intend to get over it. I intend to get beyond it by the Grace of God, but in no way forgetting what happened to (him) at the end of (his) life in this world. There will always be a (Kenny)-shaped hole in my heart—Period!” (Emphasis added)
BELOVEDS, life happens, and sometimes it hurts. Healing our pain will take as long as it takes–no more nor less. YES, LIFE MOST CERTAINLY WILL BREAK US, BUT REST ASSURED — WE ARE MADE STRONGER AT THE BROKEN PLACES!!!
A PRAYER FROM “THOUGHTS IN SOLITUDE” BY THOMAS MERTON
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does, in fact, please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore, I will trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
An indescribable pain overwhelms this mother’s heart and I have nowhere to put it, but in this post. It hurts so deeply there is no depth. There is no bottom to this pit of pain. I am screaming volumes, but no one can hear the echoing silence.
Officiating over 200 funerals–decades of ministry could not prepare my heart for this hurt beyond aching. Words do not come to describe this soul-wrenching pain that bursts from the seams of my love for this child—this beloved flesh of my flesh.
I will not—I cannot hold back – the agony is too great. My heart hurts and hurts and hurts–Day in and day out– Nights bring no relief. I cannot will these tears to stop. Lord, please help me!
Grace gave us three glorious last days and promised to be sufficient for my tomorrows, but TODAY, I am sadder than sad—broken beyond broken—shattered with no strength to be strong!! TODAY THIS MOTHER’S HEART HURTS!!!
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4)
This brief picture story reveals the depth of the pain of loss and the visible anguish we feel when those we love are seemingly permanently snatched from us.
As I understand it, these pictures along with the following story, was first printed in a French newspaper and has circled the internet for many years.
A flock of birds had stopped on a highway (somewhere in the Ukraine) perhaps just taking a rest or maybe they had spotted a bit of food. A vehicle passed by injuring one of the birds and it is unable to move from the roadway.
Her mate lingers nearby offering solace and eventually he brings food to her. On one of his return trips he finds his mate dead and seems to try to shake her awake and attends to her with love and compassion.
Aware that she is lost to him he cries out in obvious anguish. Every time a car passes, the bird flies off for a moment but then returns to mourn, his heart clearly broken. Shocked at her death, he tries to move her.
Eventually the photographer, concerned for the safety of the living bird, put down his camera, picked up the lifeless bird and removed it from the road. The grieving bird lingered in a nearby tree, “crying” out loud with adoring love and reluctant to move on. No one knew how long he stood beside her and cried, devastated by the loss. But there he stood beside her lifeless body with sadness and sorrow.
I lost several loved ones in 2010–a Husband; a Brother; and a lifelong Friend; I also have a special affinity for entertainer Michael Jackson, and was deeply affected by his death because of the common skin disorder (Vitiligo), we shared.
But, they are all gone now, and it is painful to think of the world without them in it. Nevertheless, I have discovered, the Scriptures offer great comfort for pain we cannot explain and for loss we cannot control. There is peace in knowing “our times are in God’s good hands.” God loves us and it has always been a part of God’s plan for us to spend eternity with Him whenever our lives on earth are over. God understands our pain and grief, so the death of loved ones is not a sad thing for God–only for us.
And so, I rest in the Lord and the comfort of God’s love. I allow the power of God’s Word to heal my heart and trust that God sees our tears even before they fall. By faith, I believe as the songwriter has wisely penned, “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”