This is a difficult month for me. January is the anniversary month of my husband's home going. His last days remain so fresh in my mind and in my heart. In like manner, the pain also remains fresh. I have struggled through each January since.
I have had well-meaning friends and loved ones advise me to "just move forward", or "don't think about it", etc. All that is within me wants to scream at those people "Don't tell me what to do or how to do it"! I don't do that because I know they mean well. However, I wonder how often I have made some one's pain more difficult to bear by taking it too lightly. I never meant to, I simply didn't know what else to say. Now, I realize that's exactly what my friends and family are facing with me. They haven't experienced this loss and they don't know how to help me and that hurts them because they love me.
They say things to me like "just be thankful you had him while you did", or "at least you didn't have to bury your child; nothing in this world hurts like burying your child". I am thankful Terry and I had wonderful years together and I will never know the pain of burying my child because I was never blessed with a child that lived.
I often wonder how those people would feel if I said to them "well, just be thankful you had children, I never had any". It would be a rude and heartless thing to say. I never want to make any one's pain deeper or more difficult to bear and I know others don't intentionally do things to hurt me. Still..............it hurts.
It hurts when people think that my pain should be less because Terry loved me so completely, because we had 35+ years together, because he was kind and affectionate and good. Don't they realize that, because of all those things, my pain is worse because I had so much more to lose?
I don't know how it feels to lose a child that you have held in your arms, loved through childhood, or even seen grow into adulthood; I never will. I do know how it feels to sit in your doctor's office and hear him tell you that you have lost your baby; the baby you have waited for, prayed for, gone through every imaginable medical procedure and begged God for. I know that pain and have experienced it three times after trying for over 10 years just to accomplish pregnancy. I cannot imagine losing a child you have had with you; it must take a piece of your heart away; how could it be any other way?
The truth is that losing someone you love is painful. Why is it that we want to quantify our pain and make it worse to experience one loss over another? A friend recently posted on Facebook that a person who loses their partner is called a widow, a child who loses a parent is called an orphan, but a parent who loses a child has no name because there is no word that can describe that pain. My first thought was "how could you possibly know since you haven't experienced either"? She has both her parents, all three of her children plus all her grandchildren and three husbands plus a couple of 'friends' she's had along the way. (You see, I am human and I may not say it, but I sure think it!)
Why is it that we want to make our own pain worse than any pain experienced by others? Why can't we just love each other and empathize with each other when we suffer? Can't we just let pain be pain and loss be loss without trying to make martyrs of ourselves? How inexcusable must we be before God? I often wonder if He wants to speak up and say "have you ever given your only Son as a sacrifice for a totally selfish and unthankful human race"? Hmmmm, why don't we all try comparing our loss to that one? I don't know about you, but that shuts my complaining mouth in an instant!
How thankful I am that I serve a living God who loves me and understands my pain in a way no human being can. Even when I'm at my worst, He loves me and has compassion for me without judging my pain. He accepts me as I am and comforts me in His arms. What an incredible blessing it is to know Him and to experience His love and acceptance!