6 years gone…

Imagine for a moment that your child died. I don’t mean when you’re 90 and your son or daughter passed on at age 72. I’m asking you to consider the loss of your child at age 6 or 20. I’ve got friends that wrestle with that daily. I have no such experience and only a fool would claim they understood. I cannot, and frankly, I hope not to have anything beyond empathy for the loss of children. The only way to better understand the unthinkable is to experience it firsthand.

I have a healthy respect for families that survive the loss of children. And I can tell you firsthand these families are pounded with feelings of grief they work to resolve or survive. I’m not sure one can actually “move on” in meaningful ways. You can’t leave those experiences and memories in your life behind. There is a distinct possibility, however, that one can move forward.

I have a few thoughts zipping through my head, and I’m going to attempt to relay them without confusion. First, there is a large misunderstanding about what angels are and aren’t. We don’t lose children and then see them manifested as little winged cherubs resting atop our shoulders. It may help to visualize such things in terms of coping with loss, but that simply isn’t the truth.

With that in mind, I happened across a song I enjoyed many years ago that surrounded the loss of a little boy. Yes, it does specifically offer the idea of a little one that has crossed over to being present as an angel. If you listen to the lyrics, which were written and experienced by this band member, you can place yourself where he is. He’s trying, desperately, to do the very best with what is left – he’s reminding us not only are they still living, but we’re duty-bound to live properly. We must honor being here in this time and in this place.

The song lyrics have obvious theological flaws, but I enjoy listening to it. Doing the best you can when you lose a child can look very different for each of us. Ultimately, we wish for them to elevate and not descend. In the case of sentient beings when they’re not developed enough to say yes or no to the Lord, they ascend. For those old enough to choose, the pathways become less malleable.

This song has two parts – a subtle instruction of faith to a child to overcome fear and despair, then the manifestation of the departed child as the same instrument of faith for those left behind. I think it embodies some simple concepts that are encouraging, while also being a genuine heartbreaker. I listen to it often. For those who want to make the song a true biblical poem set to music, remove the word “angel” and import “God” and you’ll be fine.

To all the parents missing children, I offer you the solace of the Gospel which teaches us and reminds us there is a reunification in the afterlife. Seek Him. Be salt and light my brothers and sisters.

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