Child Loss: The Day Heaven Became Real

 

I grew up going to Sunday School and reading the Bible and hearing stories about how great heaven was — no tears, no sickness, no night.  It sure did sound good to me, but it didn’t sound real.  In fact, a lot of nights I’d lay in bed and worry about dying.  I wondered if there really was a place called heaven or if it was just a made-up story — a fairytale told to make kids be good at night and fall asleep quicker.  “Dream of how happy heaven will be.  Just close your eyes and think about heaven.  You’ll fall asleep before you know it.”

When my thirteen-year-old sister died tragically, my world fell apart.  Literally.  Our family fell apart.  Literally.  And, suddenly God didn’t make sense any more.  How could a God who is good and who is so full of love allow a little girl to choke to death because her lungs wouldn’t allow enough air to go in?  We prayed, but God didn’t answer.  

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Child Loss: Who Am I?

When my son died I no longer knew who I was.  I was lost.  I felt as though half of me was missing.  I felt transparent to the world — like everyone could see right through me and see that my heart was broken and bleeding.  My mind raced and my tears flowed and I cried out to whoever would listen.  “Who am I? I don’t know who I am any more!”

And, the truth is that I really didn’t know who I was when my son died.  Was I Samuel’s mom?  Was I still a mother?  Was I an ex-mother?  Who was I?  Suddenly my identity changed and there was nobody who could give me my new name.

The first time this identity loss hit me really hard was when I had to sign his death certificate.  It was real.  My son had died and I had to attach my name to a paper verifying that my son was no longer here.  I didn’t know how to sign my name……..    

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