Ps 78:39 For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns.

Each of us have contemplated our body as temporary, but it becomes real when someone we love dies. Some live longer and spend more time on this earth. Does that mean their purpose took longer to accomplish? As our parents grow older, it is inevitable that we will need to cope with the loss and send them off to the next chapter of their story.

What do we feel after a child dies? The saying “parents are not supposed to bury their children” hit home when our eldest son died suddenly. We knew he had some health challenges but never imagined receiving that phone call from his wife. Through sobs of grief we heard “he just didn’t wake up.” None of my nurses training prepared me for this tragedy. Yes, I dealt with my tiny patients dying and between my knowledge and the power of the Holy Spirit I even helped the parents start the grieving process. But this was different.

He was only forty-seven years old. He couldn’t be dead. That’s step one-denial. Then came anger and asking God “Why?” Later, that cold February day, his father and I discussed it. “I just want to know that he wasn’t in pain and that he went to heaven,” Wayne said. His response was a part of the bargaining process that gives us peace of mind when tragedy strikes.

During the week Wayne seemed depressed (stage four). We talked about good memories. After the graveside service we realized that all of life’s demons that attacked our son were finished and that he was free. It took time, but we finally made it through the grief process to acceptance. We will always miss him, but he lives through his daughters and now grandchildren. None of the process worked until we knew in our heart and accepted that God was in control then and still is now.

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