How Death Changes Things. . .

Written October 21, 2001 during a dark time in my life.

Since the day our son, Andrew, was born, we were confronted with his death. It has made a solemn change in our lives.

Approaching death makes the nights longer, sleep hard to come by, and the sound of steady breathing a Godsend. Life isn't as exciting. Laughter is somehow a falsehood and tears are genuine. Jokes are never as funny as they once were and even a chocolate cake brings less pleasure.

The news of someone else's child "going on to the next life" always hits hard. If reality hasn't struck- it hits hard now.

If I were to find peace it would be in the smiling face of our boy. I felt honest overwhelming joy and peace just once while everything was right. I walked into his bedroom and looked at him sleeping. His breathing was quiet, peaceful and there we no tubes or wires coming from him. No sound of mechanical devices meant to protect his fragile life. He was stable, all was well. I wish I could get that deep sensed feeling again- it was indescribable.

Death. Thwarted by a Savior who carries the pain. Death. Not the end, but rather a beginning. Has it changed me? Yes, I feel 35 rather than 23, I feel jealous of mothers with their arms around their growing sons. I feel a hopelessness in the face of an inevitable. Many nights I've tossed and turned or stayed awake dreading the thought of an uncertain future. Many nights I've hovered over my child shedding tears of yearning. Many nights I've cried out to God "DO SOMETHING" and heard nothing.

Have I changed? Yes. For the good? Perhaps. Perhaps I'll not take it lightly when I wake to his cries in the early hours of dawn. Perhaps I'll know what to say to another grieving mother, but perhaps not. I may be so deep into my own regrets and remorse that I'll forget that I'm surrounded by others. I may turn inward and not enjoy every waking and sleeping hour we have with Andrew. I may forget that through it all God is there holding me in His hand.

I can show weakness in the face of death, never in my faith in God. I can spend nights crying for myself, but must not forget to cry for others. I can get involved with my family, but only for the purpose of strengthening our bonds. With God this will be possible.

How has death changed me? It has enabled me to love other children freely with no thoughts of prejudice. It has made me compassionate toward my hurting neighbors. Most importantly, it has strengthened my faith in God.

We all have to die, but not until HE allows. I will not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough worries of its' own. Can I be strong? Only with Jesus by my side, God under my feet and the Holy Spirit constantly guiding and comforting me.

The dark won't seem as black and the days so bleak,
As long as Jesus is my keep.
Those times of trials, tears and pain,
God hold my hand, my heart, my claim.

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