Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Mourning -- Different Losses, Same Pain

My plan for the summer is to post something related to grief every Monday (or at least most Mondays)...thus the title "Monday Mourning."  My aim is to be as honest and open as possible as I share about the journey our family has been on for the last few years.

This may sound strange, but after losing my 17-year-old daughter to cancer, I often found myself mentally comparing my loss to that of others. 

Which is worse..losing a child that you've spent 17 years with, or losing a child you've spent 17 minutes with, or maybe 17 months?  Does that hurt less, since you didn't really know that child very long...or does it hurt more, because you feel robbed of all the wonderful experiences you could have shared together?

What about losing a child who has grown into adulthood and maybe even has a family of his or her own?   Would that hurt less, since you'd at least know that your child had gotten to experience some of the greatest joys of life...or would your grief be compounded while dealing with a widowed spouse and grandchildren who are missing their mom or dad? 

And is it worse to lose a child suddenly, tragically, like in a car accident or drowning, without the opportunity to say good-bye or make sure things are right between you...or is it worse to watch your child's health deteriorate before your very eyes until their illness leads to death? 

Is it harder to know that your child died without you by his or her side...or is it harder to sit beside them, holding their hand, as they struggle to take their final breaths?

And you know what I have finally figured out, after spending a lot of time talking to bereaved parents who have experienced all of the above scenarios in one form or another...

Our losses are all different, but the pain is the same.

Whether our child never took a breath outside the womb, or lived to be 5, or 17, or 36, or 50; whether they died suddenly or slowly; whether we held them as they died or if they died all alone ... it doesn't make a difference.  The losses are different, but the pain is the same, and it is very real.  And the only place healing can be found is in Christ. 

Psalm 147:3 says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  What a comfort that is! 

Six brokenhearted moms will be coming to the While We're Waiting Weekend Mini-Retreat for Moms on June 25th.  We are looking forward to seeing God heal broken hearts and bind up wounds during our time together.  Please pray for us as we seek to minister to these precious ladies. 


Thoughts for the day said...

I can't imagine losing a child, I am pretty positive I had a miscarriage between my son and daughter but there was no data back in the 70's to prove it so I sat with 'a question' for many years. My joy will be when I arrive in heaven and perhaps meet someone for the first time?
I am so sorry for your loss, we lost our mother (for me mom in law) last year from pancreatic cancer and yes it is way hard to see the person 'leave slowly' right before your eyes. I called it the dance of death for every day brought different steps and movement within the disease process. My daughter lost her best friend at age 14 from leukemia and we 'walked through that' too. Can't really decide if a slow leaving is better than a phone called jarring one's heart. I think to never say 'goodbye' is the most difficult for one's heart. Unfinished heart hurt's take a long time to heal if ever. I sit with your question and wonder as healing continues.

Melissa McCone said...

What a powerful message Jill! I feel like your messages hit me right in the gut and it's hard to stomach that sometimes, but your messages are so powerful but peaceful at the same time. I love to read your blog. You should be a motivational speaker. I always pray for your great family. Thank you for being a true example of a Christian family.

A Mother's Love said...

I have had the same thoughts you've had...which is "easier"? I think it all stinks, and all is gut wrenching pain. I think though, with sweet Hannah, you have more memories to grieve over.

Even though I am confident our loved ones moved to Heaven and we will see them again, death down here stinks!

Thinking of you, and always sweet Hannah!!! Kelley