31 May 2011

Joy comes in the mourning

I have a friend whose son died last month after a seizure. Only 12 days before he would have turned 20 years old. So young. It was unexpected, a total, complete surprise. It was nothing they could have prepared for.

My friend lives in my old hometown and I had been praying that I would get a chance to see her when we went back there recently. I just wanted to give her a hug, for me or for her, I don't know. I just wanted to tell her in person how sorry I was.

I had been standing in the lobby of our old church talking with friends, waiting for the right moment to go into the church as it had already begun, when she walked out of the bathroom right in front of me. I looked at her, she looked at me and then we just hugged. We quietly cried in each others embrace and just let the tears flow. No words were needed. Just two mothers sharing tears of sadness over our losses, over each others losses. Two mothers whose arms ache to hug the ones we miss. Two mothers joined by a situation different, yet the same; we've lost a child too soon. She has memories to fall back on and miss the son she shared them with. I have no memories of times spent and miss the opportunities I should have had.

My friend had a large bundle of tissues at the ready in her purse. We dabbed at our tears and she asked me when it gets better.

I don't know.

I told her it does get easier.

It gets easier, but it never gets 'better'. You are never better than you were before. The loss of your child is forever with you. The slightest thought at the most random times can ignite a tidal wave of emotions that spill the tears when you least expect it. Just when you think you've shed your last tear, that you have gained the strength to move on without being emotional over the smallest thing, you are reminded through someone else's loss and yours become fresh and new again.

But we do have joy in these times.

Through our faith in Christ.

We know that God already knew how things were to be.

Psalm 139:16 All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

I don't know how people who have no hope in Christ get through it. What a dismal, depressing thought that the only moments we ever have are here on earth and once you die it's all over. There is no point, no future, no hope without Christ.

It does make our sorrow easier to know that we will see them again. And while we have to learn to live this earthly life without them, we can have peace knowing our loss is heaven's gain and someday we will see them again.

How good was God to give me the opportunity I had asked for. I could have easily missed seeing her but He brought us face to face. So I could give her a hug.

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