My maternal grandmother was one with a true pioneer spirit. All that she did in life was done with gusto as well as perseverance. She, along with my grandfather, raised 8 children, built a dairy farm, tended the chickens, baked fresh bread each day and did all the usual chores of a farmer’s wife.
My grandma also buried five of those children and her husband before her own death at the age of 76. Each of those losses tore a little piece of her heart from her and when she finally succumbed to death herself, it was because her heart failed.
There is nothing to compare with the loss of a child – no matter what the age. Only one of those five children lived beyond the age of 30. She died after battling cancer for a number of years. Three of them died in tragic accidents. The last one also suffered and died from cancer.
I consider my grandmother a hero of sorts, because of her great courage in adversity, but the very thought of losing a child is so difficult to even think about. How do you comfort someone who is going through this pain? Where are the words to heal the heartache? There really are not sufficient words to lift someone from this sadness, other than to let them know that you are there for them, you love them and you will pray for their healing.
Helen Keller, born blind and deaf, said these words, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched, but are felt in the heart.”
We have our children in our immediate care for such a short time. Usually by the time they’ve finished their schooling they’re on their own. Those brief years are but a whisper, but God allows us that time to nourish their souls, to feed them with the Word, to equip them with the armor that shields from the slings and arrows of the world.
Like the flowers of spring, many bloom with brilliance for a short time and then they pass away. Our hope comes from knowing that God had a part in their splendor, no matter how long it lasts on this earth.
Once our children are grown, the foundation has been laid. When that child knows that life is simply a temporary place and a time of grace from God – they have the one necessary thing to guide them through it.
While our children are in our lives, we must take the time to hug them, to love them, to give them the tools they need to get through life, and rest in the confidence that they are in God’s hands – even and especially after death. We have no control over when our last hour will come, but we do have a wonderful life insurance policy for the future. The price for eternity was paid for us by God’s own precious child.
“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” Leonardo da Vinci