One of the first things I learned as a bereaved parent was that I was surrounded by bereaved parents. I don’t mean to say that I didn’t know. For the many years we lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we knew a couple who would tell us when their deceased son’s birthday was and how old he would have been. I do not remember what my response was, but I’m sure it was inane. I wanted to express love for them and concern for their hurt, but I’m not sure I was able to. Two years ago we entered their world and discovered that we were surrounded by hurting parents. Our eyes had been opened.
Yesterday at lunch my friend Brian said that the scenario where a parent outlives their children is simply wrong. He is right. Even as we face the second anniversary of John Robert’s death, we know we have a long way to go. There is no actual destination, no place where we will no longer miss John Robert. A great blessing to me has been to be a part of The Compassionate Friends, a support group for bereaved parents. I am touched in a deep place in my heart to see parents who lost their children twenty, thirty, and forty years ago who still remember, love, and miss their children. Helping others with their grief through GriefShare has also been both a challenge and a blessing.
It still hurts. We have times when we think of John Robert and smile, and times when we think of him and cry. We have been blessed to be surrounded by care and sympathy. Expressions of thoughtfulness are frequent. This week we received a dozen cards of care and prayer from the Orange Grove Church of Christ in Gulfport. Many of our Monroe brothers and sisters help carry our burden through prayers, expressions of concern and care, and by not forgetting. That really is like a soothing balm on a wound that never heals. It helps.
As we go to the cemetery and place new flowers in remembrance and reflect on our precious son, we will shed many tears. But every tear is an expression of the depth of our love for him.
When we drive away from the cemetery we do not leave empty handed. We have a beautiful daughter who has a family. Our grandchildren mean everything to us. Maggy and I both are blessed with wonderful families that we love. Our life is rich with relationships and full with God’s mission. And hope.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Yes. We believe this.
To read about John Robert’s life click HERE.
Thank you for your prayers, concern, and love. And for reading today.