Death: Perspective from a Mother Who’s Lost a Child

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In the wake of a legendary celebrity’s passing, we are all at a loss for words.  Whether we are a true fan or not, we are usually saddened by the end of one’s talent and the gifts that he/she gave the world, our nation, or our community.  Yesterday, I was talking to another mom who has lost her child.  We messaged our thoughts back and forth about the latest news of Robin William’s death.  I was in awe at the words that this mom spoke of death, and the clarity of which she spoke about it.  I, too, have had some of the same thoughts since Eden’s passing, and I have been thinking about these words all day “….for me it is my reality.  My life.  I forget to notice it’s not normal or comprehensible to others…….It’s part of who we are.  Our life.  Our reality.  No.  It’s not all we are, but it is part of who we are now.”

It is as if we mothers of lost children have a new understanding of death.  We understand it more, while, at the same time, understand it less.  We feel the loss again and again with every new news of someone passing, young or old, natural causes or accident, no matter.  We easily empathize with all the victims and feel their pain deeply.  Death is no longer something we view lightly.  Yes, it is a part of life, but we have faced it head on.  Face to face as it tried to claim us in its path to take our children.  It is somehow personal.  When our children died, so did part of us, but, miraculously, something else was born in its place.  A strength.  A softness.  A grace.  A passion.  A wisdom.

Grief never truly disappears, but as time goes by a resolve covers it like a vine covers the rails of a fence.  It is a strength that says “I survived this…..I can survive anything.”  It is a strength that proclaims that we will not be conquered……strength that gets us out of bed in the morning when we are heartbroken.  A bravery arises to make those aware, to honor those lost, to reach goals, to make dreams become reality.  Strength that dares others to look at their own lives… right the wrongs, live to the fullest, jump to new heights.

Beneath the strength is a new softness.  A new appreciation for the little things cultivates an abundance of grace.  We realize that under the smiles might be pain, under the bad days might be real struggles that need love and not irritation.  We can go to the grocery store and deal with the rude cashier because once we needed grace, too, and there will be days we will need it once again.  When sickness, tragedies, and funerals arise, we are the first to answer the call for food, flowers, comfort, listening-ears.  We know not to say things like “God works in mysterious ways” or “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”.  We understand that a word not need be spoken, but support is all that is needed.  A hug.  A tear shared.  A presence felt.

You might have met one of us and encountered a passion like no other.  A fire to make a difference.  A fire to change the world.  A passion to let the enemy know that we will not be destroyed.  That we will not succumb to death and its destruction.  We buried a child so we can do anything. We seek a new order.  An order for change, an awareness, a crusade, a cause is not looked upon as something unachievable, but an Everest that can and must be climbed.  With each passing of a new soul, the drive to climb accumulates.  Love must be shared.  Grace must abound in this world, and we are just the ones to do the spreading.

Death kills us but somehow makes us wise.  We have a discernment about what it must have been like for God to look upon His child as He lay dying, because we have done the same.  Heartbreak.  Devastation.  We do not take for granted the sacrifices God and others have made for us.  We choose to do the sacrificing in return.  To be the miracles that we need in the world.  To take up the cross.  To change the status quo.  We grasp the concept that life is, indeed, too short.  If we know better, we should do better, and that’s what we aim to do. We are not afraid…..of our peers, of opinions, of death.  We are smarter than that.  We are wiser.

All of this is our new reality.  Birthdays missed.  Graduations uncelebrated.  Lives remembered instead of lived.  This is who we are now.  We did not choose it, but we seek to make good of it.

Because of loss we may be stronger, softer, more full of grace and wisdom now, but, oh, that we could make a trade…….



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