Somewhere a mother was grieving over the loss of her son while my own lay sleeping in his bed, blissfully unaware that in the morning he'd face an empty desk in class, one less friend on the basketball court and the stark reminder that we are mortals.
My mind raced.. searching for answers, longing for wisdom.
How does a mother help her child deal with loss? How would I tell him that his friend was gone?
Denial was my preference. I would much prefer to allow my children the pleasure of pain-free living, but with death comes an inconvenient truth.
It is raw...and real.
And it is no respecter of persons.
Breakfast was somber. Moments of silent contemplation mixed together with memories shared and questions asked. I looked into the eyes of my babies, "This moment is a gift. We aren't promised tomorrow... which doesn't mean we live in fear... it simply means we love harder...we speak kinder... we cherish... we say 'I'm sorry'... we forgive quickly… so that no matter what this day brings, we can face life with no regrets."
At the school, I parked and went inside. I told myself I needed to walk my children in… needed to make sure that they'd be ok. But the truth was, I just needed to be with them a little longer.
The tears I'd held back since I heard the news jumped to the surface as I stood in the hall and watched my 10-year-old walk away.
Yes, I know that I can't be with him every moment of every day. I know that I can't protect my children from the pain of this broken world. I know that I can't shield them from tears and grief and death.
And, yes, I know that our lives are in God's hands. And, yes, that gives me comfort.
But I also know that the raw pain of loss cannot be wrapped up neatly with words. It cannot be covered over with ribbons and bows... set aside for another day... another time.
It must be faced.
It must be acknowledged.
For in the process of our grief, we give our loved one value. We recognize their worth in our lives... We acknowledge the gift of who they were to us.
And through it all, we find ourselves clinging to the hand of a sovereign God who will one day wipe away all tears in the land where we never say goodbye.
So to you I say the same.
Love harder... speak kinder... cherish... say 'I'm sorry'…forgive quickly… for today is a precious, fleeting gift.