Guest Post: Encouragement from a Mother Who Has Lost a Child
If you are new to this space, then something you might not know is that my 2 year old nephew passed away from brain cancer back in 2014. His parents, my brother and sister-in-law, have handled it with a tremendous amount of strength and grace. They have maintained a positive attitude and continued to serve and love others so well. I reached out to my sister-in-law to see if she would share a post and she said yes! Although loss is not an easy topic, I believe one that needs to be addressed. Today my sister-in-law is sharing about Kai, who is now in heaven, and what she appreciates that others do, to honor him. You can read more about Kai on her blog Love Wins.
*Update* This was written + scheduled before Hurricane Harvey. Being that we are both from Texas our condolences go out to those who have been affected by the storm. We do not want to be insensitive to what you might be going through and our hearts + prayers go out to you.
Encouragement from a Mother Who Has Lost a Child
I have a dresser: IKEA Hemnes, versatile, brown/black, and super quick assembly time with minimal parts (note sarcasm). This dresser… it’s Kai’s dresser. It sits in his room that is now shared with his new baby sister who will never meet him here on earth. Kai’s dresser hasn’t been moved, and it still has the same clothes in it since the day he went to Heaven over 3 years ago. The dresser hasn’t sat idle though. His clothes have been worn by his middle sister Maya and scattered about his room a million times by same said middle sister who saw it as a treasure trove of dress up clothes when she was younger. Each time, I put them back just like I used to, in the same order. There is some comfort in that.
But, I can’t take the clothes out for good – not even when I knew we would bring a new baby into his room. I just can’t. Not yet.
I’m not sure why I feel this way. Other moms I’ve talked to have boxed up all of their child’s clothes immediately. I also remember talking with a mom who couldn’t watch videos of her child, but for me at that moment I needed to see Kai’s videos. In these conversations, the uniqueness of how each person copes is evident, but even if we are navigating the pain differently, we can still be in the journey together and not feel so alone.
In any challenge you may feel like no one understands you and may even wonder if even God has gone silent. But He hasn’t. God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and we are called to be courageous and be willing to walk with each other through the hard and messy places.
So I encourage you not to be afraid to walk with someone amidst pain. Have courage to say “I know I may not be able to understand how this feels for you, but I see that you’re hurting and I’m here for you.” It may feel awkward, the response may be awkward, but simply acknowledging what someone is going through is powerful. And if the situation is because of a loss of a child, it’s ok to say the child’s name. While I realize there may be some who may not want this, what I’ve found more often than not is that those who have lost someone they love almost crave to hear someone else say the person’s name, to remember their loved one. For my husband and I, when someone tells us they were thinking of Kai or something reminded them of Kai it lifts our heart so much. It is a gift to be able to talk about our son.
One thing that has become so clear in these years since we lost Kai is that we all have our stories – stories of loss, challenges, and suffering. So let’s open our hearts, lend a hand, and help lift each other up as we walk the journey together.
PS. If you are going through infertility, please head over to my ministry to join my support group!
PPS. Have you picked up a copy of my book? Buy In Due Time, a 60-day devotional for hope + encouragement in the waiting.
PPPS. I created a group on facebook as an extension of my book + blog to discuss anything + everything. Women only! Come join us!