Monday, December 7, 2015

You Might Be A Bereaved Parent ...


We bought a much-needed new car this past summer ... a Nissan Pathfinder.  Our 2007 Toyota Camry had served us well, but with over 220,000 miles on it, we just couldn't trust it for long distance trips anymore.  And as the While We're Waiting ministry continues to grow and we spend more time on the road, something bigger was needed to haul all our "stuff" around.

Our purchase included a free trial of Sirius satellite radio, and we enjoyed it while it lasted.  One station that I particularly enjoyed was one that featured brief comedy routines by stand-up comics.  As I chuckled along with Jeff Foxworthy doing one of his "You Might Be a Redneck" routines, I began to wonder what a "You Might Be a Bereaved Parent" list might include.

Here's some of what I came up with ...

If you've ever laughed and cried in the same ten-second time period, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever put an article of your child's clothing in a zip-loc bag because it smells like your child, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever left an empty Coke can sitting in one place for months (or years) because it was the last thing your child drank, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you ever find yourself seeking out a seat at the end of the aisle and close to the door so you can leave a church service/concert/ball game/school event/graduation/baby shower quickly, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever cried through an entire church service/concert/ball game/school event/graduation/baby shower, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you still have your child's phone number stored in your cell phone even though you personally canceled his phone service, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever called your child's phone number, knowing she wouldn't answer, but you just couldn't help yourself, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever been dumbfounded by the insignificant things people complain about on Facebook, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever smiled and said, "Fine" when someone asked, "How are you doing?" even though it was a lie, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever tried to run away from Christmas, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever wanted to throat punch someone who said, "At least you have other children," "God must have needed him in Heaven," "You can always have another baby," or some other such nonsense, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever had to restrain yourself from typing a snarky comment to a parent bemoaning their child's first day of kindergarten/high school graduation/week away at summer camp on Facebook, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever typed a snarky comment to a parent bemoaning their child's first day of kindergarten/high school graduation/week away at summer camp on Facebook, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever stuttered around on your response when asked, "How many children do you have?" you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever lied when asked "How many children do you have?" because you just couldn't deal with the deer-in-the-headlights look at that particular moment, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever choked when the waitress asks, "How many?", you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever gotten out 4 plates for dinner and had to put one back, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever avoided an entire aisle at the grocery store because it contains your child's favorite food, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever slept with your child's hairbrush/stuffed animal/pillow, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever dreaded having a family picture taken, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever been moved to unquenchable tears when singing a song about Heaven, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever found yourself marking time by "before" and "after", you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever looked at a picture of yourself "before" and wondered who that person is, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever wondered if/how to plan a birthday party for someone who's not going to be there, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever been told, "You're so strong ... I could never be that strong," and you know that you're really not strong at all, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever heard, "I don't know how you do it," and you don't know how you do it either, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever had to make absolutely unthinkable decisions at a time when you're least prepared to make them, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever found yourself feeling completely alone in a crowd of people you once knew very well, maybe even your own family, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever wished you could just completely disappear during a particular month or months, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever been left gasping when someone posts a picture of your child that you've never seen before on Facebook, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever felt grief so heavy that it was literally difficult to sit upright, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever been jealous of older people because they're probably going to get to Heaven before you do, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you've ever thought you might be going crazy ... or are pretty sure you really are going crazy, you might be a bereaved parent.


That's a very negative list, isn't it?  And understandably so.  The loss of a child is an incredibly painful, life-changing experience.  But, that being said, it's not without some positive things as well, particularly if you have a sustaining faith in a good, loving God.

Here are a few which come to mind ...

If your focus on the here-and-now has been replaced with an eternal perspective, you might be a bereaved parent.

If your penchant for small talk has been replaced with a desire to discuss weighty topics of eternal significance, you might be a bereaved parent.

If your shallow relationships with others have been replaced with deep, rich, life-long friendships based on common bonds you wish you didn't have, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you find yourself appreciating and savoring every moment you have with your surviving children, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you find great joy in watching your surviving children grow up, because that's what children are supposed to do, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you live with a heightened awareness that bad stuff happens, and you need to make the most of every opportunity you have to spend time with your loved ones, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you find yourself with a desire to learn all you can about Heaven, because your child now lives there, you might be a bereaved parent.

If you are deeply saddened and moved to heartfelt prayer every time you hear about a parent who has just lost a child, you might be a bereaved parent.

If, because of an awareness of the fragility of life, you have a new urgency to show people the hope that is only available through Jesus Christ, you might be a bereaved parent.


If you are a bereaved parent yourself, and would like to get connected with others who understand the experience of losing a child, I encourage you to check out the While We're Waiting ministry.  Click here to visit our website, or here to join our faith-based Facebook community for bereaved parents.

4 comments:

Jean said...

Wonderful thoughts Jill! I can share so many of those. But each day we get closer to seeing our kids again. Thank Jesus for that!!!

Jill Sullivan said...

Amen, Jean!! And thank you, Jesus, for making a way for us to be reunited with our children one day. <3

Unknown said...

My precious daughter, Bryn (19 mo), was called home 10 years ago. Reading all of these brings back so many emotions to when I was in that valley. I can relate to most of them. I've often stopped and thought to myself, has it been 10 years already when it seems like yesterday? God has blessed me and my husband more than I ever could have imagined since that day. Thank you for sharing your words and helping to bring people through their valley. I'll see you someday on the other side! And yes, PRAISE GOD for that day! XO - Brandi

Jill Sullivan said...

Thank you for sharing Bryn's story with me, Brandi. To think she's been with Jesus for ten years ... and you are ten years closer to seeing her again one day. Looking forward to meeting you and Bryn on the other side! <3