Today, I watched the service of a young lady who passed away a few days go. She was a mere 26 years old and her life was stolen by an evil disease. Cancer robbed her and her family of a beautiful future.
I somberly watched as her life was celebrated. I saw her short 26 years played out on our church’s video screen. The songs that were played, the pastors’ words, the cries in the background took me back to 2 years go when our family celebrated Joey’s life in the same spot, with some of the same people, with the same pastor.
As I heard the family speak, I caught glimpses of the parents, siblings and grandparents. My heart broke for them, but it shattered for her mom. Though the pain and loss is felt all around, there is no greater pain, or love for that matter, than that of a mother. Unfortunately, I also know what the next few days will bring. The days when all the sounds would stop. When the calls stopped coming and the door bell ceased to ring. The days when I became so engulfed in the quiet that my mind would vividly relive every sound and pictures of that horrific day. The nights when I desperately needed to sleep but the nightmares kept me awake. I can still recall how the cold tile floor in our bedroom felt against my shaking body. I spent so many nights on it. Sometimes I pounded it so fiercely, I would have bruises on my hands. Other times I just laid there, staring into darkness. My body limp from grief and reeling in pain. My husband would frantically try to pick me up, but I was dead weight…dead, period. My whole being was being swept away in a sea of agony. I wonder if a grieving parent came up with the quote “A quiet storm” because those are the perfect words to describe it. A deafening quiet filled with anger, sadness and disbelief that grows into such a monstrosity you feel as if you are drowning. You gasp for air and with each breath you think that it will be your last. At times, I wished it would be.
I saw myself in this mother. I could see the pain behind the week smile. I could tell how strong she was being, not for herself, but for her family, her friends and for her church. As people hugged her and gave their condolences, she held back tears. When a long-lost friend appeared, she would break down and hold them a little longer and a bit tighter. Some people might have remarked to her that her daughter “was in a better place and would no longer suffer the evils of this world” because she was in the “glory of God’. She agreed, nodded and smiled back. She probably even laughed a bit here and there. After all, God is good, right? He has a plan…right? Right??
Dishearteningly , when our children die, so does our faith. I don’t care how strong of a believer you are. You can say that you are different and you know that you will never question the work of our God. You will. You will question MANY things when your child passes. Whether you are on one side of the pulpit or another, you will lose your beliefs. For some it may be a few angry moments screaming at God. For others it will be a lifetime of declaring how they could have wasted their time believing in the goodness of God. You can say that you are different and you know that you will never question the work of our God. I know I always declared that when things just didn’t go right in my life. But then, Joey died.
For quite a while, I was scared. I wasn’t sure where I would end up. Many times I was worried that it would be a lifetime of regrets. Not because I felt I wasted time, but because if I really never believed again, would I ever see my Joey again? It’s like that 10 year old kid that declares they know there really isn’t a Santa Claus but just in case, secretly believes there is.
Today, as I watch our pastor getting choked up, and listening to him speak of this young lady, I knew which group I fell into. I realized that I truly DO still believe. I know that I am one of the fortunate ones that spent a few angry moments being angry at God and as I listened to pastor, I knew God understood my pain and it was OK.
GOD KNOWS MY PAIN….HE LOST HIS SON, TOO.