A close friend gave us this book written by Max Lucado entitled, ‘Facing Your Giants’. As we struggle to cope with Ashley’s loss, I just want to quote some of the truths he wrote about the topic of ‘Unspeakable Grief’…
“It’s cold in the valley of the shadow of death. In such moments, spring becomes winter, blue turns to gray, birds go silent and the chill of sorrow settles in. You are left alone to face this giant called grief. Bereavement comes from the word ‘reave’. Look up reave in the dictionary and you’ll read “to take away by force, plunder and rob.” Death robs you. The grave plunders moments and memories not yet shared: birthdays, vacations, milestones. You are bereaved because you’ve been robbed."
Indeed, David and I feel that we’ve been robbed. We have waited, and prayed and searched for His will for eight long years. Yet, we were again denied of the chance to call a child our own. We are wistful – we see parents with kids and yearn for our child. This giant of grief and bereavement stirs up insomnia, loss of appetite, thoughts of calling it quits. Facing the death of your child amputates a limb of your life…and we were amputated three times in three years.
Our family and friends may not understand the magnitude of this giant. But at times like this, we do not need another sympathetic stare or an earful of good o’ Christian counseling on trusting God and staying strong. We need time and space to face our grief – to flush the hurt out of our hearts; to have the permission and blessing to go ahead and cry a river.
In ancient times, Egyptians dressed in black in six months. Some Muslims wear mourning clothes for a year. Orthodox Jews offer prayers for a deceased parent every day for eleven months. Just fifty years ago, rural Americans wore black armbands for a period of several weeks. Yet today, we feel that we have to hurry our hurts, get on with it, get over it, dun be sentimental…It’s as if Ashley’s death has no significance.
But God does not want us to grieve as ‘people who have no hope’ (1 Thess 4:13). Even as we grieve, God tell us the truth about where our babies have gone. They’ve been dismissed from the hospital called Earth. You and I still roam the halls, smell the medicines and eat coalescent food off plastic trays. They, meanwhile, enjoy picnics, inhale springtime and run-through knee-high flowers. We miss Ashley like crazy but we can’t deny the truth that she’s freed from all pain and struggles and tubes and incubator. She’s really happier in Heaven, in the company of all other child-angels like herself.
And what’s brings some comfort is that we will see her (and our 2 elder sons) soon. Life blisters by at mach speed. Reunion is but a splinter of an eternal moment away…Till then, we just have to face our giant each day and honour our babies’ short but precious existence in our hearts.