I am not normally a crier, but the last few weeks have found me in a place where tears are easily falling from my face. I am staring at the clouds, the leaves blowing on trees, relishing each snuggle with my boys in a way that is more intentional and true. I am grieving. This Memorial Day marks 6 years since the birth and death of our son, Koen. May 27th fell on Memorial Day 6 years ago too. Six seems so grown up, so big, I try to picture what he may look like, but his face seems distant, hard to see. I never got to experience six-year-old Koen, and for that I grieve.
A few weeks ago, a woman who holds the most special place in my heart, was met with the news that her daughter, was killed in a car accident. This young woman was days from celebrating her first Mother's Day with her infant daughter. I am grieving Koen, but I am also grieving the loss of this beautiful soul who loved Jesus with every ounce of her being. My heart shatters for this family. This family who serve and love our creator, and have experienced more loss than most of us can imagine. My friend lost her husband suddenly 14 years ago, and she arrived in to my life shortly after she experienced this loss when we moved to California. Her faith, her wisdom, and her service, all while raising her children as a single parent who was grieving impacted me so that it pulled me back in close to Jesus. I was experiencing heartache at that time, which made me question Jesus, but watching her life was the reminder that Jesus was not the cause of my hurt and pain, the world was. I began to grow and trust that Jesus was there to hold me during my ache, and He did. I began seeking Him and relying on Him in my daily life.
We moved away from California and shortly after we arrived in Michigan I became pregnant with Koen. And as soon as we heard the news that Koen was dead inside of me, I sought God's face. There was no other way to endure my heart being ripped from my chest while my precious baby boy was simultaneously being ripped from my womb. Via social media this special woman spoke wisdom and truth to my grief and loss 6 years ago.
I have been wrestling with God these last few weeks. Wondering how He can allow tragedy to strike twice to those who love him so immensely. I think I have tricked my mind, probably because I needed to believe it, that I had lost one child, surely I would not face another tragic loss of that magnitude during my life. But this world, this fallen broken world, does not work according to Jackie's plans. Heartache and loss and bad news can face us at any time. During the funeral of her daughter, my friend shared Proverbs 3:5-6:
"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
We may never understand, but we can continue to acknowledge Him, seek Him, hope in Him, and He will be there to hold us while we ache and grieve.
Grief of this magnitude cannot be fully understood until you have experienced it. Have you watched the movie "Inside Out" where they talk about your core memories and the impact those memories have on your entire life, how you see things and approach life? Loss of someone who makes up your heart at your very core impacts you in that way. It shifts your perspective, changes how you interact, how you approach things, your faith, your empathy. In so many ways my grief has made me who I am. So yes, I continue to cry six years later, and empathize greatly with a fellow mom who is burying their child. My heart will forever ache, miss, and long to be with Koen. But every single day I will acknowledge my loving God, hang on to His mighty hand, and watch him straighten my paths as I make the choice to walk forward with Him each day.
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I am Jackie.