Sitting in the choir loft Sunday morning, I was startled by a video. It highlighted our church’s mid-week boys’ class. It was the group that Andrew was a part of for a few years. He always liked the fishing, the shooting and campfire making the best. The book work, he endured. (That’s our boy!)
Over the next few minutes, I felt the cruelty of not having our boy.
We don’t know why brain cancer attacked our boy. I don’t want any other child to go through it. I don’t want any other family to be in agony over a cancer diagnosis and death.
Sometimes when I see boys Andrew’s age, the pain is overwhelming. I wonder why our boy. We tried to do all the right things to protect him ~ spirit, soul and body.
Still, cancer came.
Sometimes when I am out running in my neighborhood I see a boy riding a bike whose hair is the color of honey, like Andrew’s.
Sometimes I close my eyes just a little and imagine it is Andrew for just a moment.
Sometimes I hear the familiar sound of skateboarding down our street and I miss hearing that right outside my door. I miss hearing Andrew skateboarding up our driveway, into the garage and coming in the side door with his hair plastered with sweat to his head.
Sometimes I see the friends he played with out playing now. It hurts. I often avoid the top of our street for that reason.
As the video played, I felt the heat rising in my body, tears welled up in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. My hands began to shake. I wanted to escape. But I knew it would cause distraction and I would just feel worse making a scene.
The lady to my left reached for her purse and withdrew a tissue. She pressed it into my hand and then she placed her hand on my knee.
Grief and overwhelming sadness was recognized.
I grabbed her hand as the video seemed interminable and held on for dear life.
Grief and overwhelming sadness acknowledged.
I often feel that people don’t know what to do with me anymore. And I wonder if it is more a reflection of my own discomfort. Should I try to explain how difficult it is being in church?
There are several reasons. Our family has discussed them. I think it would be very hard for someone to understand unless they have been in a very similiar situation.
It starts with driving to church. Instead of five of us in our van, there are four. Andrew always sat right behind me. Then there is the pew. Not five any longer, but four. We sat there believing and praying for a miracle as Andrew sat beside us. The elders of the church prayed for him and he was anointed with oil.
Our choir has begun rehearsing for Christmas and I remember that last December the five of us sat together and as the choir sang, Andrew leaned into me and whispered in my ear, “It’s not the same without you up there, Mom.” That was only two weeks before he passed to Heaven.
Although doing life is sometimes difficult, we keep pressing forward. We do the hard things. I admit I do not always smile through it. But I do it. Can that be good enough sometimes?
I guess I’m sharing this to let you know that if you are in the presence of someone who is walking through a storm, in whatever phase that may be, you really don’t have to say much. Please don’t preach or tell them you know how they feel. Please don’t offer platitudes and be very careful about “sharing” Scripture.
Just recognize and acknowledge.
Eye contact. A hug. A pat on the back. A squeeze of the hand.
That is comfort.
As in our case of our loss of Andrew, I want people who know him to talk about him when it feels right. That makes us feel good!
Please don’t pretend he never existed. If you have a story to share, tell me. Maybe he came to your mind recently, tell me. Though we don’t have his physical presence at this time, he is still with us. He is always in our family of five.
“It’s not the same without you down here, Andrew.”
|October 2009 ~ at church|
A couple of nights ago as we lay in bed, I told my husband, “I want Andrew back.”
He replied, “And he wants us home.”