“Can you think of anything worse than this?”
“Yes. Losing another.”
She, who had lost 3 children, had no reply. She wanted to comfort me, but I was living in fear.
Fear of the known.
The days and nights following Emily’s death have no timeline. They were fluid, like a giant ribbon waving in the wind. But, somewhere in there, my oldest child came down with the flu. Not the throw up kind. The fever kind. Emily’s death followed a fever. Would I lose him too?
Losing Emily brought the reality of death into my world. Children don’t always outlive their parents. Children can and do die. And just because I had lost one precious little one did not exempt me from this tragedy happening again…and again…and again.
God is sovereign. Some days I am okay with that. Some days I freely give Emily and all the others.
Then I have days when my whole body aches over the memory of that day nearly 3 years ago. I ache with the thought of losing another child. Yes, I survived. But it isn’t something I want to do again.
And then I read of another mother’s loss. I want to rid my house of every dresser, every bathtub, every electrical outlet. I want to breathe normal again. The kind of normal that doesn’t see the world this way. The kind of normal that doesn’t wonder
I tell people who haven’t lost a child not to live in fear of a nightmare that doesn’t belong to them, but what do I tell people who live in fear of a nightmare that DOES belong to them? What do I tell myself?
I fear something very real. But I cannot live there.
I cannot live in a place where everywhere I turn is a vision of yet another of my children taking their last breath. I have to close the doors on those rooms. I have to walk away from that place altogether.
I visited Emily’s grave last week. We had just been to the mortuary to finalize plans for Emily’s headstone.
Three years later.
We also purchased 4 more plots. “Neighbor control,” we joked. Behind the smiles, fear spoke,
I hope no one else needs these plots. I hope Emily is alone there until my tired old bones are lying next to hers. “Oh Lord, please, no more.”
And then I remember…
Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow.
There IS something worse than this. There IS something worse than losing every single one of my children.
Losing every single one of my children FOREVER.
And so I take a deep breath to remind myself just how long this life is,
I lay my fear at His feet,
and move forward.