Last week I experienced the most difficult moment in parenting, to date… My children experienced their first loss. Their dog that their father got them when they were babies was hit by a car and died. When I learned of the news I sat on my sofa for a while, contemplating whether I should tell them or let their father tell them. After about 10 minutes I decided that I would tell them. I wanted to be able to console and nurture them through the pain.
Having one hour to be dressed and out the house in time for church, I walked into their room and sat them down. “Guys, I have some bad news”… “Scooby was hit by a car”… Now I expected sadness and a few tears but I would have never expected the reaction my children had. My 9 year old daughter fell to the ground, crying out “no, no, no… not my dog” and my son burst into tears, exclaiming that his first best friend is now gone. My daughter kept repeating, with tears running down her face, ” I will never see him again”… “I knew pets and people die, I just didn’t know it would be this hard”. I just sat there, quietly, holding them as they expressed their pain. Once the crying subsided I explained to them that Scooby is now in heaven, barking at the feet of Jesus and that he will be well taken care of…. They pulled themselves together enough to get dressed.
Moments later I received a text from my 9 year old (yes, she was in the living room)… She was too sad to do anything and wasn’t sure she was going to make it through the day…. My response…. Jesus is sad too…
I went into the living room and sat on the sofa with her and read her the story of Lazarus. We talked about how sad Jesus was when He lost His best friend and the fact that Jesus cried too. We then prayed for the Holy Spirit to bring comfort and joy and I encouraged them to share their emotions with their friends and mentors, people who could come along side of them and pray for them… In that moment, my 9 year old decided she was ready to get to church… so we were on our way.
I am currently interning with my church so that requires me to be there literally ALL day… My babies joyfully went through 3 services, smiling and playing as if that morning had never happened. They shared their pain with a few of their friends who were kind enough to share their own experiences with loss. They were loved on and reminded that they are not alone. I was in awe of the faithfulness of God… he was truly their comforter during their time of pain.
That night, when we were home and the silence set in, sadness began to creep back in. On the drive home from church, she let me know that she is still hurting. I let her know that it is ok to hurt, she isn’t expected to get over it… I promised her that while she will always miss Scooby, the pain will fade and everything will get better… She shared that while she knows he is in a better place and that he is happy and well taken care of in heaven, it doesn’t make living without him any easier. I told her about losing my Aunt ( more like my mom) and how even today, I talk with her, telling her how much I miss her, praying that she is proud of me… I explained that losing someone doesn’t remove them from your heart.
While tucking her into bed we prayed that God would replace the pain with joy and that He would restore everything that has been taken…. before falling asleep, my daughter thanked me for telling her… “It would have been harder if you hadn’t been the one to tell me”…
Their dad brought them home a new best friend to love…
Isn’t that just like the Character of God? He understands our loss and is sympathetic and compassionate towards us… and will always repay us for our loss.
This was a challenge on so many levels… I am soooo grateful for the relationship I have with Jesus… it was Him who guided me through this parenting moment and allowed me to be used by Him to show is perfect love for His children.
No matter what type of loss you are going through today, I encourage you to look to Jesus… He feels your pain and His desire is to replace that pain with His presence, His joy, His comfort and His plan.
I love you all… God Bless ~ DeShawne Coleman