When our child dies, everything goes dark. We can’t think straight, we are numb, and it feels like we are in a nightmare and are trying to wake up.
As strange as it is, even in the numbness we can feel anger and intense emotional pain. All of this swirling inside of us goes on for months, and then even into years. That is normal for a parent who has lost a child, since experts have determined that:
- most of us deal with what is considered fresh grief for up to five years
- the death of a child falls under traumatic grief (we have suffered a trauma) and many parents also have PTSD depending on the circumstances of the death (finding his or her body, seeing it happen, etc.)
Our thoughts can get stuck in this place of darkness, and we wonder if we will ever be able to get out.
One of the things I discovered early in my grief journey after my daughter, Becca, died, was to ask God to help me shift my perspective. The way I saw everything was dark and painful, but I knew God saw things through different eyes, and I needed desperately to see what He saw.
Let me share three things with you that God showed me, helping make that shift in how I saw things. And before you read them, may I suggest that you pause and ask God to help you see these things with His eyes as well. And remember, this isn’t coming from someone who is trying to fix you by giving you Christian clichés and pat answers. This is coming from someone who has been right where you are.
- This life is not permanent. Thank you, God!!! This is only the blink of an eye, a dot on the line of eternity. Where we are going has none of this heartache, turmoil and separation.
God made a way so that we do not have to be permanently separated from those we love. Wow! That is pretty amazing when you stop and think about it. And please do. Stop and think about it. This is not a permanent separation.
I remember confiding in a friend a year after Becca died that I felt guilty because I wanted to go to heaven to see Becca more than I did to see Jesus. Her answer? “But Laura, you have made a deposit!” I love that.
And when Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21), I realized that since one of my greatest treasures is in heaven, my heart will be there as well. And that is okay.
- To live is Christ, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). So, I have to ask, if that is true, what did Becca gain?
You and I have children hanging out in incredible glory and perfection; no sickness, no pain (physical or emotional), no hurtful rejections… I think you get the idea and could build on this list. When I take time to think about what my daughter has gained, I can start feeling happy for her, which eases my pain some.
And have you thought about how our children will be the first ones waiting to meet us when we arrive? I can actually get excited thinking about Becca showing me all around, knowing she couldn’t wait for me to get there and join her!
Honestly, when I spend time thinking about my deep loss, I cry and can hardly breath. When I think of her gain, and let my mind imagine what it is like for her, it moves me in the direction of peace.
Would I rather have Becca here with me? Absolutely, especially when I think about how much I miss her and all the things she is not, or will not, be part of as I continue living here on earth. But since I have resigned myself to the fact that it isn’t going to happen, I have gotten to the point of enjoying picturing her in heaven, imagining the fun she is having, the people she is meeting and hanging out with, what her mansion might be like, etc.
- God IS always good. And good doesn’t mean I always get what I want. Good means that He sees what we cannot see, and knows what we don’t know, and sometimes allows natural consequences to take affect because of that.
And in His goodness, He made a way for death not to be final. Plus, He not only walks with us, He will carry us if needed, while offering everything we need as we travel through this very deep, very dark valley.
In other words, we need to see God as one who comes along beside us with deep sorrow and compassion, not as someone to blame who caused the death of our child. It is really helpful when we see God as the rescuer in our story, rather than the cause of our pain by something he did or didn’t do.
Asking God to make a shift in our perspective is so important. When I asked Him to do that for me, one of the biggest shifts God made for me that I so desperately needed was when I thought about getting further and further away from Becca. I could work myself up into hardly being able to breathe when I thought about moving into the new year without her, and then thinking about being three years, five years, ten or twenty years here without her. God spoke to my heart and told me that I wasn’t getting further away from her, but each year (and each day) I am getting closer to her!
Wow! Now I could appreciate that for sure! Every day I am here, every year that goes by, I am that much closer to seeing Becca and being with her again. Thank you, God for Your goodness in changing how I see it, and for making it possible.
What do you need to see differently? Maybe it’s every part of it and you don’t even know where to start. That’s okay. God knows. Just break through whatever is holding you back and ask Him.
Another thing that helps, is to find ways to honor your child to keep their memory alive so that others will know who he or she is. To receive a list of Ten Ways to Honor the Life of Your Child, just submit your name and email below. You will also begin to receive each Wednesday our Weekly Word of Hope. (No spamming, we promise!)
GPS Hope exists to walk with grieving parents through the suffocating darkness of child-loss to a place of hope, light and purpose.
We also support families, friends and coworkers who want to know how to support these parents both short and long-term.
- If you are a bereaved parent, we encourage you to connect with us on Facebook.
- If you are not a bereaved parent but want to support those who are, or want to follow us as we give hope to these precious parents, please connect with us at Friends of GPS Hope on Facebook.
- Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube channel.