Is There Anything Worse Than This?

“Can you think of anything worse than this?”

Those were the words she spoke into my life just a few days after Emily’s death in February of 2008.

My answer?

“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.

Some days.

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.

Ever.

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

If?

When?

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.”

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.

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18 thoughts on “Is There Anything Worse Than This?

  1. I can’t imagine the tearing pain of losing one of your children, let alone more than one. And I hope and pray I never CAN imagine it. I’m amazed at your willingness to share your pain… I don’t know what else to say apart from that as your sister in Christ, I love you, and am thankful that He loves you and can surround you with His arms and love and grace and care.

  2. I cut the last section and posted in email to my daughter of five. She subscribes, but (having lost a son who discovered his fourth stage lung cancer at his 31st Christmas eve), I remarked how much her comment around the five-hour LIFE game last night meant to me. She was nursing the fifth and declared her readiness if something were to happen to any of them. I added my admiration for her and husband’s gentle funneling in on the 5-yold’s heart after reading the Christmas Tabitha series for the day. Not being with them for ever is, indeed, the only thing worse. Your comments prompt us to be sure our grandparent’s prayer, our PEB prayer (protection, enablement, blessing), continues with a very important salvation and Walk With God segment to it.

    I’ve decided to make short daily “Snippets: The Family’s Journey to Christmas” for my own grandfather’s blog, http://www.gendads.com. I’ll wedge these thoughts in.

  3. The nightmare of losing a child doesn’t belong to anyone. Even if you’ve lost a child. That isn’t the type of ownership God is willing for anyone, ever. Only Satan would chose such an awful possession.

    God wants all of us, having lost a child or something or someone else or nothing at all, to own His promises. Beauty from ashes. Good from evil. Redemption from Bondage.

    Much love to you and your family, Amy, as you celebrate Christmas!

  4. I do not know the nightmare you describe and that others have lived but I do know about the blessed hope in Christ Jesus that we will see all our loves one who have gone ahead of us in Christ… those who were saved and of course, any children who have gone on to Heaven. My prayer is that I never have to live that and that Christ will come back for us and our circle will not be unbroken at all. I do thank you for writing about Emily, I am reminded to treasure my children more, to be about the Father’s business and to be inspired by your walk. How can I get disgruntled and discouraged when I see what you have been through, and others like you? God bless you all this Christmas season.

  5. This quote helps me:

    “Love in a fallen world entails suffering, and the choice is stark: to love and risk the pain, or to withdraw and become cold. The latter is a frightening response but widespread, given the lack of faith in our world and the inability to understand that suffering can be linked to Christ’s Passion and bear fruit for all. Suffering makes little sense in a secular world, yet the founding truth of our faith is that love bears all things for the beloved. … He walks with us through our trials, bearing our very suffering in His own body. We cannot allow our fears of what love may cost to keep us from loving.” — Genevieve Kineke

    I didn’t lose my DD. But we thought we would several times, she has been close to death too many times. I know it is in no way the same, but the quote has helped me. <3 blessings

  6. You are amazing! I follow your blog and am amazed by your heart for the Lord, your husband and your children. I pray you feel our sweet Saviors arms around you when you feel that fear creep in. Thank you for sharing your heart, fear, love and hurt w/ all of us.
    Blessings.

  7. I don’t fear death anymore. My fear is of losing another child. I think that so many other moms can relate to that fear that have already been there. But I am trusting God in everything and I trust Him more than what I fear.

  8. From having lost a child too, I am SO there, Amy. I’m pregnant again, and struggling with the fear of another stillbirth. God is good, He is sovereign, and yet in my weakness, I fear. May God give us grace to rest in Him fully – that’s my prayer for myself and for you and for all others in our situation.

  9. This post could have come right from my own heart (although you have worded it so much better than I could have!) Since losing my son earlier this year I feel like the Lord has enabled me to move pretty smoothly through my journey of grief and has allowed me to live joyfully in spite of the loss, but my one real struggle has been with fear of having to go through this again. I was just thinking recently how interesting it is that while sometimes losing a chid teaches you to more easily place all of your trust in God, at other times it makes it kind of terrifying because you know that His plan may very well be so totally opposite of what your own would be.
    But my biggest comfort is exactly what you said: this life is so very, very short compared to eternity. In the blink of an eye we will be with our children again and forever.
    Hugs to you and prayers for continuing comfort and freedom from fear.

  10. Oh…Amy. You are so good with words. I have chills…I don’t know if I could survive what you have. I honestly don’t. BUT, I am positive of my Heavenly Father’s comfort, grace and peace that would sustain.

    It is hard to not live in fear of what the future holds for my children but trusting Jesus…I press on.

    Thank you for the beautiful post.

  11. Amen Amy. I know that kind of fear. I lived it many, many times. I feared after Samuel died. I feared again after Josiah died. I feared again after Anna died. Bad, evil, fear. I’m not healed of that completely… but praise God he continually reminds me to LIVE today… and I do.

    It’s usually in the moments of symptoms and illness that I begin to fear, but each time a child gets better I’m reminded to trust God and enjoy life… and I do.

    The “I do’s” are only because Jesus did. You know?

    Life is but a vapor… quickly passing away for all of us. Because we know what’s to come – eternal bliss!- there is hope in that verse.

    Well, I better get my day started.
    Thinking of your family during these months of memories – bitter and sweet.
    Love,
    Lynnette

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