I think there is an old saying that when something happens to others we always say something like, “I’m so sorry it happened to them but thank goodness it didn’t happen to me.
We’re human and selfish by nature. I think it is natural that we think this way because no one in their right mind would actually say, “Oh I wish it had been me,” when something terrible happens.
I know every one of those parents from yesterday who were able to bring their little ones home were so thankful their kids came home last night but at the same time thinking about the terrible loss twenty sets of parents had to go through that night at their great loss as they start the mourning for their beloved little one.
And I have no doubt every one of the parents who lost a little one in this tragedy also thought that it would never happen to them. I know I felt the same way that when I heard about a child dying some place that my heart went out to the family for their loss and just couldn’t imagining it happen to me. And then on July 1, 2008 my daughter came home from her special needs summer school program with diarrhea. What parent thinks that diarrhea could be life threatening. Not many.
Over the next 16 days my life and those around me and my husband went on this roller coaster as we had times where we thought we were going to lose her and then in the next moment where we had some hope that she just might pull through.
Then on July 16 that all changed. When you sit in a room filled with many doctors, residents, fellows, a nurse, social worker, and chaplain and you are told that your life will now forever be changed as the little girl you know and love is forever gone.
Think about that. Forever. It’s a word I don’t think our human brains can truly wrap itself around and yet here we sat looking at what forever looked like. It meant that we were going to lose our precious baby girl.
After much discussion, sometimes heated arguments to where there was even yelling at each other involved, my husband and I decided that because we loved our daughter so much that we would let her go that night. Was it easy? No. It was anything but.
That night at 7 o’clock, everyone but Keith and I, the chaplain, and other necessary people were asked to leave the room. Over the next hours I held my daughter in my arms as she slowly slipped away. As she took her last breath my life changed in that instant. I am now a parent who has lost a young child.
And now I think about the parents from yesterday. Just as my husband and I were changed the moment Mari went to be with the Lord, so have these parents. They will forever be changed. They will have the beautiful memories of their little ones to forever keep in their hearts. We can be thankful for that. Memories are precious and irreplaceable. They will be cherished.
They will have many dark days in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. However, one day in the future they will have just a small about of happiness to fill their hearts. Over time the loss will not be so acute and literally feel like their hearts are breaking.
After almost four and half years I still miss my beloved angel now in heaven. I still cry. I have moment of complete sadness. But the days are few and farther between. My worst times of year are the day she died and her birthday. But that’s okay. God knows my heart and is there lifting me every day.