Thursday, November 3, 2011


When I first became a Mom, I have to admit it I was in over my head. My parents weren't Christians so I didn't know how to train up kids in the Lord, especially because my first was very spicy, let alone how to train them to behave.  Dr. Dobson's advice in "The Strong Willed Child," didn't come close to problem-solving my first's antics. I later found out that she had a genius I.Q. which attributed to her early onset shenanigans, but she has a choleric personality which in a two-year old made me nuts. By the time she was four, I had birthed two more babies and spent most of my time in a constant state of perspiration and frustration. I loved them to pieces, but knew I wasn't doing a good job.

I attended a ladies prayer group and decided to come clean. Every Wednesday we would pray and miraculously, over time, I grew to love my job and admire the unique personalities that each one of my kids possessed. In fact, raising my four kids has definitely been the highlight of my life. I approached my parenting like a professional career - determined to do the best I could - and attended seminars, read books, listened to tapes, and prayed with them and for them continually.

When their dad left, he introduced so many sinful elements into our sweet haven that every day was like walking on a tightrope wire while wearing a blindfold. I fought to continue to provide them with a high quality, Christian environment while being attacked, maligned and sabotaged. I shielded them from as much garbage as I could and often, after I would drop them off at school, I would sob in the car begging God to help. Most of my prayers were repeating the word "Help!" over and over.

I never knew what shocking, hurtful, or dangerous situation would arise. I am certain that their dad was not just backslidden, but demon possessed. The things he would do and say and the ability to get away with it could not just be happenstance.

I battled and fought each crisis through prayer and the courts. I am not a big fan of drama so calling the police to come to the house to listen to death threats on the answering machine and having the kids interviewed by CPS was embarrassing and awkward. Being pulled in to Jerry Springer type situations, and the authorities assuming I was that type of person, was humiliating. But I persevered in a futile attempt to protect my kids.

For now I will leave out much of the details that led up to that night. Too difficult. It's only been five years. About 10:15PM the phone rang. A lady, with a slight Mexican accent, was on the line. All she said was, "____ is dead." I hung up the phone. Something kind of snapped in my brain. Was this a prank, a new low from their dad to torment me? I called my Pastors. Could this be real? I had a restraining order, and trying to carry on a coherent conversation with the dad was always futile, so I asked if they could find out if this was a prank. I knew it wasn't real, and I started pacing back and forth in the house, for about 45 minutes. I think I was repeating, "No, no, no," I'm not sure. Then the doorbell rang and I knew. Apparently when I opened the door and saw my Pastors I let out a death wail. They received confirmation from the State Troopers and we got on the phone so I could hear it for myself.

Life will never been the same. I will never recover. It's like a Christian oxymoron. We live our lives with the goal of spending eternity with Christ, but then the worst thing that can happen is when your child goes to spend eternity with Christ. I miss my son every day. I'm sure he's doing all kinds of cool things right now, but when I see his friends' college graduation pictures and wedding pictures on Face Book, it doesn't seem fair. They weren't nearly as awesome as my boy, and they're being given a chance at life. But then my son is experiencing things we can't even dream of, and he's met Jesus face to face, so why would I want him to be here struggling with sickness, mortgage debt, career challenges and marital issues?

My brain has not worked the same since my boy's death. I think I had some kind of shock-stroke. I can't remember ANY numbers, spelling of familiar words, and chunks of experiences are gone. My doctor said that after a few years my brain would go back to normal - it hasn't. My girls and I still deal with PTSD and maybe we always will. I trust God that He did exactly what He should have, as it says in Isaiah 57:1: The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. 

My middle daughter found a journal entry in the dryer that my son left in his pocket. In it he was questioning the Lord, asking Him, "Why do you call me beloved?" He was beloved of God. At four, he asked to be water-baptized!  I thought he was young, but when the Assistant Pastor spoke with him he felt that he understood the symbolism so we went forward. He stood out from the crowd, he was kind, funny, intelligent, and creative. His friend's parents remarked how unique and special he was. He was spoiled, lazy about chores, and took great delight in tormenting his sisters (I insert that lest the reader think I suffer from "After a Son Dies Remembering Him as a Saint" syndrome).

My extended family and church family were so wonderful through it all. I can't imagine how atheists cope when they lose a loved one.  Their dad tried to prevent me from having a separate funeral, so this grieving, heartbroken, devastated Mom had to do legal battle when I should have been curled up in a ball in bed under heavy sedation - but such is the path of the 100-fold.

I will miss him every day for the rest of my life and even as I write this I am tearing. My girls don't talk to me at length about him because I always end up crying and they can't bear seeing Momma cry. I wish I could be more supportive for them, but it is what it is. I can't give Christian advice on how to heal because I never will. I can't give grieving tips because everyone grieves differently - no one-size-fits-all grieving technique exists (books on grieving bug me for that very reason).

God has worked it for good: My treasures are in heaven, not here; I have a good perspective on what's important in God's sight; and the only true value of this life is preparation for our eternal life. Having done everything I could for my son, I am blessed to live without regret. I cherish (as always) my wonderful girls and son-in-law. Someday my son and I will be together again in eternity.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1:21


  1. This post is a double-barreled shot to the chest. Thank you for the openness and honesty.

  2. Maybe, if I tell the rest of the story, my festered heart will be free to heal? We'll see.