Living with a Loss

Living with a Loss

Steve was a cheerful little boy with big brown eyes, curly blond hair, and a dimple that appeared on his right cheek every time he smiled. He had dreamy eyes, and often sat by the window to gaze at the rain, the clouds, or the birds.

“He has been kissed by an angel,” the Japanese midwife had told me with a smile when she first placed the small warm bundle in my arms, pointing out a snow-white streak of hair at the back of his head. “He has a special calling in life.” Over the years, her words often came back to me and I wondered what they meant.

Fifteen years later, Steve, then a handsome teenager with an athletic physique, suddenly became very ill. I was sure it was a bout of malaria, as we had traveled to the coast regularly during our missionary work in East Africa. The grave look on the doctor’s face said otherwise, even before he relayed the findings of the tests he had ordered. “Acute lymphoblastic leukemia.” My mind was suddenly flooded with questions. What did that mean? Could it be healed? How would this affect his future?

Because of the seriousness of Steve’s condition, we were in a race against time. Within a few hours, Steve was flown from Kenya to Europe, where better treatments were available. He was hospitalized and put on chemotherapy.

The next two years were long and agonizing. Hopeful moments were followed by setbacks as one chemotherapy session was followed by the next.

Then came the day when it became clear that our dear Steve was not going to recover. His doctors pronounced the treatments unsuccessful and gave him six weeks to live. It was Steve’s wish to return to Mombasa, Kenya, where he had grown up. It was there, surrounded by his friends and family, that he got to fulfill some of his final wishes, like a day of sailing in the bay before watching the hot tropical sun spread bright hues over the Indian Ocean at sunset.

When Steve’s last breath passed his lips early one morning in a small hospital room overlooking the ocean, the world stood still for me. A large yellow butterfly fluttered through the open window, and I felt God reassuring me that He had taken Steve gently to His unseen realm. Still, the impact of losing my son left me in shambles long after everyone else’s mourning had passed.

“Let go and move on” was the well-meaning advice I seemed to get from every side. But where was I to move on to? And how? Deep inside, I felt bitter and angry with God for snatching my vibrant young son from me. I felt cheated and empty. My heart remained heavy as the months dragged by and I pondered my loss again and again.
Eventually I decided to meet God on my porch early each morning to tell Him of my woes. Days stretched to weeks as I poured on Him all my grief, remorse, and anger over what had happened. “If love is the essence of Your nature, as the Bible says, how could You deal so harshly with me and my son?” I asked over and over.
What a patient and longsuffering listener I found.

I cried and pleaded and reasoned, until finally one morning I felt I had said all that I wanted and poured out all my emotions. It was then, when I was willing to make peace with God, that tranquility filled my soul. In a still, soothing voice, God began to speak to my heart. From that point on, my solitary morning porch meetings with God took another direction. I learned to listen to Him and to allow Him to comfort me and heal my pain.
I’m Free
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God has laid, you see.
I took His hand when I heard Him call;
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I found that peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full; I savored much—
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don’t lengthen it with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts, and peace to thee.
God wanted me; He set me free.
—Author unknown

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV / Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Matthew 5:1-48 ESV / Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. …

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV / Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

10 Comments

  1. Brandi
    April 14, 2015, 6:44 pm   /  Reply

    “If love is the essence of Your nature, as the Bible says, how could You deal so harshly with me and my son?” I asked over and over.

    ‘What a patient and longsuffering listener I found.’

    OOH my gosh this choked me up.

    Peace be with you, Friend. God bless.

  2. Margaret Motiri
    April 15, 2015, 11:41 am   /  Reply

    On 31st January 2015 I lost my father to Stomach cancer. On 7th April 2015 my beautiful 18 year old Vivian died after struggling with Epilepsy for 16 years and schizophrenia for 5 years. I am yet to come to terms with this.

    Right now I am sitting in my living room watching the stairs down which my baby would come asking to be served a meal. Vivian was an angel, for even at the age of 18 she had the mind of a six year old. She was gentle and always happy, hugging whoever she met.

    I have tried asking God why I had to lose two people I loved at such short intervals. I haven’t reached the point of acceptance yet. My heart is broken.

    • chi chi
      April 15, 2015, 1:32 pm   /  Reply

      God’s peace be with you. Take heart . It is well with you.

      • Mandy
        April 15, 2017, 4:00 am   / 

        I’d like to share with you.
        It may not be comforting but this is my story to you
        I do understand and share your pain
        In 2013 my mother died in the January
        Then my twin sister collapsed in the may and died of a anerism.
        Back then i had been on a journey to find God
        But it wasn’t until the lost of my twin
        Did i cry out to my Father God who i never knew all my life.
        It was through my utter brokeness he picked up the mess i was in .
        And is continuously healing me.
        I found a Relationship with my Beautiful Father God.

    • deborah
      April 16, 2015, 2:19 am   /  Reply

      Margaret, I am praying for you. It is so hard to lose a loved one . Grieving takes time, but joy does eventually return. Always remember that God loves you so, so deeply, intimately, unconditionally. He will never leave you. God’s blessings to you, Deborah J. From Coeur d’Alene, ID

    • Mr. Stephen
      April 14, 2017, 6:32 pm   /  Reply

      Am so sorry 4 ur loss…. It is well wit u……The Lord will continue to be wit u n to comfort u……….

  3. chi chi
    April 15, 2015, 1:38 pm   /  Reply

    “If my parting has left a void,
    Then fill it with remembered joy”.
    Such strong words.
    God please heal all aching heart.

  4. Margaret Motiri
    May 12, 2015, 5:08 pm   /  Reply

    It is 5 weeks today since Vivian passed away. I know she is in a better place. Sleep my darling, sleep.

  5. olumide
    April 14, 2017, 11:16 pm   /  Reply

    Unquestionable God. Touching and painful but God knows best.

  6. sjb
    April 16, 2017, 8:46 am   /  Reply

    Ill pray for you..God will always make a way.

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