Wednesday, May 4, 2011


My youngest son passed up DJ in age. My son Jake is now older than his oldest brother.

I knew this day would happen one day and I was truly dreading it. I was certain that it would cause me a lot of pain, that it would be a terrible mile stone that I would be fully aware of. I just knew that I was going to feel horrible that one exact day. And then something crazy happened....

Jake passed up DJ when I wasn't even looking. I didn't know it happened. I was sitting in the conference at The Compassionate Friends this April thinking about that one, certainly painful day and realized that it had gone and went without my knowledge. The anticipated pain of the day was over before it even began. I have to admit that I was actually relieved. I was dreading the day and I ended up not having to succumb to the pain at all.

This is a prime example of how the anticipation of an event is far worse than the actual day. DJ's birthday is just around the corner and I am dreading it as well, however after almost 5 years I know that the time up to his birthday can be more painful than the actual day. I have experienced mile stones pertaining to DJ's death where the day after it was as if a physical weight was taken off my shoulders almost immediately after the event. The pain, the stress, the worry, the anxiety of the event lifted right after it. I can feel it, I can sense the release. For me there is a sense of relief after the day. The worry before, what I think will be the horrible pain coming usually doesn't come on that exact date, it is the time up to it that is usually the hardest.

I think almost all people can easily think of the worst thing that will happen to them, it is always easier to think of the most negative than any positive. I feel this is why the anticipation is worse than the day...we imagine the worse before it ever happens. Face it, if you are a bereaved parent you have certainly faced the worst life can give you--we know it fully so it is easy to imagine it.

If you are a newly bereaved parent about to come upon a milestone of your child's world be prepared for three things 1. The days up to the event will kick your butt, the grief will hit you days maybe even weeks before the event. 2. The day will probably not be near as painful as you think it will be 3. The day will pass, it is only 24 hours and eventually it will be gone and the intense pain of the day will fade.

Being prepared for the pain to come is important, it will come and it will go. It will come in heavy waves and it can take flight like feathers in the wind.

If you are a loved one, a friend of a bereaved parent realize too that your friend is going to be grieving weeks before the mile stone. Give them grace and understanding--it is by God's grace that you have not lost a child and you must understand that the pain can come sooner than you think it should.

(If you live locally you can buy my book at the Bookworm bookstore in Countryside Village, also I am beginning my work on the bible study companion book for it)

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