A dear friend sent me this message a couple of days ago, “My son is dead,” it read. There were a few more details, but none beyond this initial phrase was important. Her message reminded me of the day my younger brother was shot and killed. The message was harsh, the pain worse. It didn’t matter to me what happened or how it happened till much later. What difference did it make anyway? My brother was dead, and now this friend, her son is dead.
In the digital age, it took but a few seconds and the “I’m so sorry’s” started popping up onto her FB page. I sent my “I’m sorry” reply via the email I had received from her. She didn’t want to talk. She requested time to grieve.
It’s funny, or should I say odd, that the night before, my wife and I had watched Shadowlands, a story about C.S. Lewis and the joy and sorrow he expressed as he loved and lost his wife. Lewis wrote a raw account of losing his wife just a few days after her death. There is nothing like it in literature (A Grief Observed).
As for my friend, the rawness of her loss is present now. It took a couple of days to get through the “what do I do next” stage. And presently, the second guessing, the hard cries, the misery of loss has kicked in. Her family and some of his siblings don’t understand. The “why” stage has hit them hard. Comforting words have morphed into blame and anger. Do they understand a mother’s grief far likely exceeds their loss? Some of them don’t believe in the hereafter. They only see the unfair sadness of life cut short, and they’re looking for answers. Yes, it seems unfair to me, too. I miss my little brother. For he I’m sure would have preferred to live happily ever after. And to us, there was nothing apparently good in his dying. To this day, we ask sheepishly, “Is he with Jesus? Is he with his namesake who has since died, too? Is he with Dad fishing? Is he as eager to see his family as we are to see him in eternity? Is he “looking down on us?” I believe the answer is yes to all the above, sort of. Death is still miserable. And there is nothing more miserable than losing a child. At least there is no greater fear than to grieve their loss, and wonder “is that it?” Is that all there is to it, we die, and we let the worms eat us?
My friend is much stronger in her faith than this. God has allowed her to struggle through so much of her life. You can’t even imagine. Now this! She’s the “Jobette” of our time. She’s is struggling to keep her head above water, and now she loses her son!
God, why? It seems unfair that her son did not grow to outlive her. That so much is upon her shoulders. Today, I happily sat in my chair overlooking gorgeous blue waters upon a. restaurant deck and enjoyed a beer and a burger with my lovely wife, as my friend grieved. I’m so fortunate, right? Then I think, “My day is coming.” It may be sudden or drawn out, but we all die. There is no consolation in living. In just the blink of an eye, someone, if I am so blessed, will soon post to my loved ones, “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
So what should the question be when I die? Will they say “he’s better off, or what a damn shame?” Will my loved ones know for certain I’m with Jesus? If they are certain, and they should be, then I should hope in life and death that they too shall see me again. But I know they can only do this through faith.
My friend has this faith, and she has the purpose in her heart to convey this message of Christ to her family and friends tomorrow at the funeral service for her son.
Please pray for her! There will be much time for her greiving. She told me tonight on the phone that she has only one wish, one moment for her to say this tomorrow, “I trust in Jesus, my son trusted in him, and he is now in heaven. I loved my son, and I am deeply saddened, but I will see him again someday as my father in heaven promised. Will you?”
I ask you, my friends, “How much do you love Jesus? This much? “