In the last few weeks I have received many emails and texts, begging for prayers for loved ones and friends who are fighting to live, adults and children alike. Some are sick, some were involved in accidents but all need immediate prayer intersession.
It is heart breaking to hear of a child who has suffered a tragic accident or has lost their fight to cancer or another horrid illness leaving behind a broken family that will never be the same. It's a tragedy and we, as faithful Christians, struggle to comprehend how God could allow such suffering to take place, especially when a little one is involved.
In dealing with the death of my Courtney, I experienced a sorrow and devastation that I was unprepared for. Even though I knew the end was coming, I still had hope and faith that if God wanted to allow a miracle that He could heal her at any time. Until she took her last breath, I had a sliver of hope in my heart that things would end differently.
That hope is not insanity. It is the gift of faith.
Faith in something greater than ourselves. Pope Francis recently said that upon death, "Our loved ones have not disappeared into dark nothingness: Hope assures us that that they are in God's good and strong hands. Love is stronger than death."
My love for Courtney was unconditional and constant. I once heard it said that "the stronger the love the deeper the scar". My scars run deep and they will always be with me. I am as proud of the scars on my heart as I am of the ones on my tummy left behind to remind me of the months I carried my children so close to my heart.
The physical and emotional scars are an earthly represention my full and unconditional love for my kids. I offered my body, heart and soul to nurture them and bring them into the world. Then I gave them my all once they were here with me. I was/am not a perfect mother by any means. Oy vey the mistakes I have made. But I try/tried to do my best.
That is all God asks of us. To give our best in all situations.
You see, life and death go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. I know that sounds almost trite, but it's true. Courtney gave us a gift, one that I have only come to truly appreciate after she left us. She gave us the gift of a certain death, as in, we knew from the time she was diagnosed at the age of nine months of age with her seizure disorder, that her life would not be typical nor would it be long lived.
In knowing this, my daily perspective changed. Not knowing the time and date those last moments will come, I learned to squeeze as much life and joy out of each day as I could. I sought and fought to find that JOY that is so important for a happy life. If you have been a long time reader, you already know that there were days that was really, really difficult and on others it was actually impossible.
Yet, even on those worst days, I prayed for the miracle of a simple smile from my Courtney or that of a seizure free hour. Most days that prayer was answered directly and others I was asked to trust in God's provision without the outward sign that anyone was listening to my breaking heart.
In the end, that's what this life is all about. God asks that we trust in His plan and let go of our own. If I had my way, Courtney would still be with me, but God had a different plan for my girl and our family. Since her death, I get up everyday and I thank God for the gift of her life. I thank Him for all the lessons learned along the way both for me, our family, and others who had come to love her. I thank Him for the gift of suffering that her life and death afforded us.
Yes, I thank Him for the suffering.
Without it, I do not know if I ever would have placed my life and hers at the foot of the Cross all those years ago. I do not know if I would have clung to our Lord and relied so heavily on Him to carry me through all those rough spots. I do not know if I would have learned to trust Him in such a deep and meaningful way.
I have a big enough ego to think that I could have done all of this without Him.
Yeah...good plan Mar...not so much.
Life is not easy. It is filled with tragedy of all kinds. Losing a child sucks beyond words. I am broken, my heart shattered into a million pieces, with so many shards I can never glue it all back together. I will never be the same. I cannot "fix" this.
I look outside my window searching for beauty and there are wars and great suffering. There is sickness and disease. There is hatred and mistrust.
BUT...the Cross cures all. God so loved the world that He sent His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON to lay down His life for YOU and ME! If God was willing to allow His son to die for our sins, than how can I not TRUST in His plan for my family, including the death of my daughter.
Courtney's ending here on earth was one of great peace for her and great pain for Jerry, Jonathan and I. Pain is part of life. It will come to all of us. What we have to learn to do is not just survive it but to thrive while walking through it. We will all face that day when God will call us home or someone we love deeply. I pray I meet the Lord with as much love, dignity and beauty that my daughter showed in her last hours.
So remember my friends, especially those of you who are facing such difficult situations within your own families or circle of friends, that LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH. Yes, it will hurt like hell and you will feel like an arm or leg is being ripped off your body. Yes, nothing will be the same ever again. Yes, God will be with you through it all and give you all you need in your darkest hour.
He did so for His son, Jesus, He will do so for you.
How do I know this? Because I am living it my friends. Everyday. I am missing my daughter and wanting her back here next to me, seizures and all. However, that is not what God wants. She ran her race and now she is there in heaven with her Beloved Lord. It's all part of His plan. It's the part I cannot see or will ever fully understand.
It's all a part of the great mystery of faith.
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
"For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."
A future and a hope.
Love matters people. It's ALL that matters. Everything else we get ourselves twisted up about, everything I used to get twisted up about, is just plain silly. Don't sweat the small stuff. You don't want to live with regret.
SO screw the laundry folding and obsessing over the house pronto and go love on your children. Go hug your husband, wife, sister, brother or your Mom and Dad if your able. Tell them how much they mean to you. If they have passed on, ask for their intercession to help your heart heal so you can go on to face and walk through whatever God needs you to do next.
Do not leave things unsaid my friends. Live and love with all you have. It will be hard but it is possible. In Christ ALL things are possible.
Then you have chocolate and caffeine to help you out as well.
God is pretty awesome that way. (wink,wink)
Labels: catholic family life, faith, grief, loss of a child