When my husband had been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, I was trying to take in that terrible news. I cried to myself, “What will I do if he dies?” It seemed beyond my ability to take in. So I did what I encourage others to do – answer your question. My answer expressed my lack of readiness to contemplate such a change in my life. “I guess I’ll do what millions of other women do….. and I’m at least as strong as they are.” It was as if God were saying, “I will be with you one day at a time.”
When my son, Chuck, died recently, one strangely comforting thought has kept coming to me. “Think of all the parents who have gone through the agony of losing a beloved child…..millions!” Think of the flu epidemic in 1918 that killed hundreds of thousands of young, healthy adults; the wars that leave families and communities bereft; the illnesses and drug overdoses that devastate families; the refugees, immigrants and massacred groups throughout the history of the world that we only read about. We are not strangers to burying our children. But it still hurts!
Again, the realization that I am not alone in my grief gives me strength to say to myself, “If others can do it, then I can, too.” And then, again I say to myself, “My God is a loving God who cares and will walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death.” Thanks be to God!