Have you ever been sucker punched in the gut? You get the breath knocked out of you, you are gasping for air, and it hurts, right? So, imagine that before you can get that first big gasp of air, you have a vice put on your chest and it is tightened until you feel like your heart and lungs will be crushed. The pain is excruciating, of course, but you can’t even ask for help due to the lack of oxygen. Instead of being helped, you are knocked face down into a big, liquid puddle of cow manure, with only one nostril free to squeeze in air, like breathing through a collapsed plastic straw. Then winter comes and freezes the poo all around you.
You lay there, the ice & lack of oxygen is numbing your brain, you start to wonder whether it’s worth it to even try to get back up… you are not quite dead, but not quite alive. You can see people’s feet and hear their voices, as they go about their life around you, but you are just out of reach of their reality. You are floating through, or simply suspended in, time. Thoughts race through your slow-working brain… Is this reality? What is reality? Is this a nightmare? Will I wake up back to “normal”? Imagine staying in that state for days, weeks, and months…
Then the vice is loosened just slightly, you breathe in just enough to get the strength to push up off of the ground… and slip and fall back into the cow pie (it’s dried out and itchy, by now, btw)… finally you get on your knees… you stand and the pain is unbearable, you fall (breaking your ankle)… then you half-stand, and start to crawl forward… half numb-zombie and half hysterical-woman. The lack of oxygen to your brain has left you dumb, you need to relearn everything… how to walk, smile, laugh, eat, sleep, breathe… you can barely do what others consider necessary (and you no longer feel anything is necessary).
Finally, you are able to walk with crutches and then at last, with a cane. Always limping, always scarred. What happened was simply not explainable… so many questions: does anyone care about your story? Can anyone else understand? Did that seriously just happen?? What?? WHY??
If you haven’t guessed it, that was my measly attempt at trying to define the pain of losing a child. Words can not do the pain justice, they just can’t. A child dying before their parents… is not a pain you can describe.
But, once you are on the other side, limping with your cane in hand… you can look back and see one thing as truth. God. He was there. He ushered your child through the gates of Heaven. He held you when you felt that first blow, taking the full force of it (I imagine the pain would kill you otherwise). He carried you forward in time when you thought you were stuck lying face down. He helped you up on your feet. He supported your first steps. He breathed oxygen back into your numb body. He was the crutches and IS the cane still to this day. He breathed life back into your lifelessness. He carried you.
So, to those who have just been sucker punched in the gut and had their chest squeezed til the pain makes them black out and been knocked off their feet, landing in a pile of crap… There is one truth, one thing I know to be true. A grieving mother told me these words when Elijah died and I knew that she could speak truth (she had been there, done that), and that brought me a tiny glimmer of hope… God WILL carry you. He will. And, I’m so terribly sorry for your pain and loss.
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