Have you had experiences that you wish you could re-live over and over again as time passes? There is an experience in my life that I hope never to re-live. That experience is the loss of my grandson. I hope that I never experience the loss of any of my children or grandchildren ever again. It has been nearly two years since my grandson, Mikey Joe, passed, yet the pain still cuts my heart into shreds. My pain is not constant. I have days, weeks, even months, where I am okay with thinking of him and seeing his grave, but then some days creep in and crush me like a Mac truck rolling over me back and forth several times.
Mikey Joe is buried on our estate, so I see his grave every time I enter or exit my front door. Seeing his grave and knowing that it is within my care, brings me great comfort.
The loss of a child is backward. Loss is supposed to happen during old age, not during new life. It is tough to reconcile the soul’s emotions and accept this type of loss. It is a burden that should not exist. Of course, I wish death did not exist at all. I see the pain that my clients suffer, and I feel my pain, and I wonder how we endure. I wonder why we must endure. Surely, this pain is a terrible nightmare that if only I could wake up, would disappear. The problem is that it is 5:00 AM; I just woke up about 30 minutes ago. Waking up does not make the nightmare go away; it brings into focus the reality of my loss.
It is winter in East Texas, Christmas is just around the corner. As I rose from my bed this morning, my thoughts drifted to the morning of my grandson’s funeral. Dressed in my jammies, I walked outside to his sweet little grave. I began raking the leaves and pulling the weeds to tidy things up for him. As I did so, tears filled my eyes. I prayed to God that my grandson knows that I love him and that I miss him. I also prayed for the comfort of my daughter’s heart and that of her husband’s too. I took a little picture of Mikey Joe’s grave to text to my daughter later today. She will be happy that his grave has been attended. She will cry because she loves him and misses him so, but she will be appreciative, and it will bring her comfort.
Today, love for my grandson fills my heart, but it is overshadowed by pain of loss. I shall facetime his brother and sister in a few hours. Seeing and conversing with them will help me overcome my melancholy. You see, that is the secret to recovery. We grieve because we love something that is no longer within our reach. The only way to mend our gaping wound of pain and sorrow is to refill it with that which is missing; love.
The heart has an infinite capacity to love: the more we love, the more we are able to love. In contrast, the heart is unable to sustain grief. The more we grieve, the less we experience love, the more we hurt, and the closer we move toward death.
Today my soul will be filled with laughter, love, and happiness as I facetime my sweet grandchildren. I must wait a few hours though, as it is only 2:00 AM at their home in Hawaii. They will awaken soon, and then my world will change. The sun will shine on my soul through the wonderment of my grandchildren, and I will be gloriously happy. I thank God that I have them.
I see their little brother in them. His perfect nose is planted squarely on his sweet sister’s adorable face. It crinkles when she smiles. His firm chin matches the strength displayed in his older brother’s profile. I am sure his personality would have matched his siblings, so loving, curious, and full of wonderment.
Yesterday, my daughter took her son out for a mother-son date. They went to see a new children’s film released earlier this week. As they were waiting for the movie to begin, my grandson could not be consoled with popcorn and candy; he wanted his little sister there with him. He missed her and wanted to enjoy the movie with her. You see, when you have suffered loss, precious moments with those you love become ever important, even to children.
I love my grandchildren so much, and I miss them beyond belief. I wish with every breath that I take that they could live nearer to me. I am grateful for the responsibility of caring for Mikey Joe’s grave. It brings me comfort to have his little body so near.
In just a few days it will be Christmas Eve. My husband and I, along with our youngest daughter, will place a Christmas tree next to Mikey Joe’s grave. With my husband’s guitar and my harp, we will play and sing Christmas carols to our sweet grandson as we usher in the celebration of our Savior’s birth.
I believe in Christ. Without His love, I would not have survived Mikey Joe’s death. The pain was too agonizing for me to bear on my own accord. Without my Savior’s gift of life over death, I would not have found a reason to continue breathing. His grace has lifted my broken heart, and although I yearn for my grandson, I know that life is eternal and that I will see him again.
I believe that families are forever and that when I die, I will reunite with my loved ones who have passed before me. I believe that we will wait together, anticipating the return of those who remain living, and those yet to be born, to one day join us in our quest for eternal happiness.
I am grateful for my Savior’s atoning sacrifice. His grace erases my shortcomings and makes it possible for an imperfect being to receive His Father’s forgiveness.
I hold in highest regard the privilege of freedom, for, without it, I might not be able to worship as the dictates of my heart rejoice.
I am thankful for the purity of love, that it is all enduring, that its force is humanity’s strength, and that it motivates charity. Charity, the purest form of love, is humanity’s only hope for survival against the evils which prevail upon us in today’s mindless confusions of purpose.
I cherish my family, my marriage to my devoted husband, the gift of our loving children, the endowment of our sweet grandchildren, and the blessing of our tiniest angel, Mikey Joe. Without family, life would be mundane and for naught.
I hope that as you enter the blessed Christmas season that you will be surrounded by those who love and cherish you. If you are separated from your family due to responsibilities, I hope that you feel their love in your heart and that you will be reunited soon. If you are alone due to loss, I pray that you feel the Savior’s love and know that his birth, his mission, his death, and his resurrection have made it possible for you to receive God’s greatest gift; eternal life as a family, eternal life as His family.
As we celebrate Christmas, may we recall the glorious praise, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Luke 2:14
I ask for God’s goodwill toward you, Merry Christmas.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and Grief BRIEFs related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.
It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.
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