This post is #192 in a series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during and following our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that period from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
This series would not be complete without a discussion of the ministry which developed out of Hannah's homegoing. Over the next several posts, I would like to share how God used Hannah's storm to initiate the While We're Waiting ministry to bereaved parents.
After Hannah left for Heaven, Brad and I began trying to ease back into "normal" life. For several months I had been quite isolated ... pretty much only staying home with Hannah or traveling back and forth to Children's Hospital in Little Rock. So my forays back to church, work, and social activities were shaky at best. And for Brad, returning to his role as high school principal without seeing Hannah at her locker in the hallway or with her friends at lunch every day was heartrending.
Because, you see, while everyone else around us was the same as they'd always been, we were changed ... changed to the very core ... changed at the cellular level. Nothing about our lives was the same, nor would it ever be the same again. We felt so different from everyone around us, and we felt very alone. Not lonely, mind you, but alone. There's a difference.
While other people were content to talk about the unseasonably cold weather or the Razorback basketball team or their upcoming summer vacation, we craved conversation about things of eternal significance. Idle chit-chat had absolutely no appeal to us. I had a hard time even focusing on what other people were saying much of the time because of the ongoing dialogue taking place in my own mind.
It didn't take us long to realize that the people with whom we were most comfortable were those who had lost children. We could talk to these people ... really talk. We didn't have to parse our words; we didn't have to hide our tears; we didn't have to feel guilty about sharing our struggles. It didn't matter if their child was older or younger than Hannah; it didn't matter if their child's death had a different cause; it didn't matter if had been ten years or ten months ... we developed an immediate bond with these folks.
The bereaved parents who shared with us out of their own pain in those early days and weeks remain precious to us to this day.
To be continued ...