Monday, February 25, 2013

A place to process

I began this blog awhile ago and only posted once...blogging was not something for which I had a lot of time to dedicate. But as I've already been posting updates on Caring Bridge regularly throughout Luke's brief stay on this earth, I thought it would be good to continue that as our family works through this season of grief. I didn't think Caring Bridge was the most appropriate place to do that. So here I am.

I recently wrote the following to my cousin and I thought it an appropriate place to begin here. Thank you to all who have journeyed with us so faithfully. Please feel free to keep commenting here the same as on CB. We love hearing from you. 

It's a difficult thing losing a child, and we grieved much over the last 5-6 months from when we first learned there were problems until now.

This has been a long road that has suddenly ended to our surprise. So much grieving has already been done in our hearts along the way I think we are in a little shock that Luke is already with The Lord. Every time we start to say, "Poor Luke", we stop ourselves, though,  because it is no longer "poor Luke" but "rich Luke", as he rests in Jesus' arms. For all of us, there is no better thing than that we go to be with Him. For us who are left behind, we grieve, but for those who see Him face-to-face there is no greater joy.

We are changed. It's like going through the birth of your first child. No longer are you a child yourself after that. You are changed.

Now I have buried a child. I hadn't ever seen anyone die, much less held someone in my arms as it was happening. I'd never watched a face relax the moment he slipped into eternity. Now I have, and as my eldest son reflected on the drive home, "it was so peaceful, not terrible as I thought. So peaceful. I'll never forget his face."

Thankfully it was only his body we buried, for we know his soul and spirit were birthed from this world's womb into eternal life. Just as a baby leaves his mother's dark, though cozy womb for a new one full of sights and sounds and new experiences,  Luke has left this world for one in which "no eye has seen nor ear heard nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him." Luke is complete like even I am not, so I cannot be sad for him, only for us for not having known him in this life. My grieving is only for what we've lost, for he has much gain. I have been surprised that the tears that flowed so readily throughout this trial have dried  up with this thought, as naturally I am quite emotional.

But even we have gained, for now we have more treasure in heaven. We know we shall see him again and that the life He lived here was valuable and lived in God's purpose. God saw his suffering and has made up for it in unimaginable joys. Now Luke enjoys his reward in full and "his sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory revealed in him in heaven."

We know the same is true for us through this suffering in our own lives. As we've walked this difficult road even imperfectly, but clinging to the hope that we would "see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living," we've witnessed His grace poured out on us to help in time of need. Our hope is realized. We've seen God's goodness. God chose to heal Luke by taking him home to be with Him. He's ended our trial by giving us back our life with each other and five healthy kids. And the bonus is that we have treasure in heaven. This life holds one less attraction, and eternity is more real than before.  We hope by the end of our lives to have transferred all the rest of our treasure there as well.

I didn't mean to write so much, but I see in the eyes of everyone who comes to me now a grief and sorrow that says, "I can't imagine going through what you've been through." If it were me a year ago, I'd have thought the same. "I don't think I can do that and may God spare me from it." I write these things to you so you can see what is in my heart now and know it is not so terrible as we both thought.

 And as you vicariously live this grief through me, please know there is immense peace. And should you go through your own grief (which we all will of course), please be assured that this same peace will be yours if you'll walk with The Lord through it. I am not super-spiritual or particularly strong—just one who found there was no other place to go and who chose to come to God's throne of grace to help in time of need rather than go it alone.