"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope."
(1 Thessolonians 4:13)
A Christian mother who is bereaved of her child (children), has every reason why not
to "grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope"... Because we DO have hope…more of an assurance from God, actually. Our children are STILL ALIVE. Their physical bodies are dead, but their souls--that which more importantly makes them uniquely "them"…are STILL ALIVE.
I think it takes a mother a very long time to say "goodbye"…At first, I was frantic to keep anything remaining of their physical body, or having had contact with their body. I smelled clothing, gathered hair from hairbrushes, touched and held onto toys they touched and held onto…Pictures were agonizing to look at, yet clutched onto...I just could not accept their physical death.
I fretted about their bodies, buried underground during the cold winter. It was hard for me to stop worrying and fretting about such things... Mothers are hard-wired to be 100% all about caring for their babies' physical and emotional needs. Innate nurturing desires, don't just automatically extinguish, when our child transitions.
When I was able to "let them go" to God, finally, it was really a letting go of the frantic, mothering need to have their physical bodies with me and nurtured. It wasn't until later on, that I started feeling gratitude toward God, for receiving them into His glorious Kingdom.
My children were very young when they transitioned. And I prefer to use the word "transitioned", because they are STILL ALIVE. They are not completely dead…only their physical bodies are "dead". What's the most vitally important to me, is that they are truly STILL ALIVE. Length of time we have our precious children, in no way determines the amount of suffering we experience, after they transition. It is widely understood that miscarriages and stillborn babies are among the utmost painful of losses.
It's a commonly held misbelief after a child transitions, that outward and visible grieving, is equal to the inner, private love, a mother has for her child. Society doesn't help much, with its reinforcing, of this faulty equation. An overabundance of love…does NOT = an overabundance of unrelenting misery and grief. Now, almost 30 years since Michael and Lisa transitioned, I've discovered a sure-fire way to get inquisitive looks. All I need do, is to talk freely- and with Christian conviction- about my physically deceased children "being in Heaven, with God." Some are quick to change the topic, seemingly for fear that I will soon dissolve into a sea of uncomfortable sobbing. When that does not happen, they look a little confused. And honestly, I cannot blame them. Most of us are only familiar with "the norm…i.e. "Mom cannot talk about her transitioned child, without becoming speechless from unresolved grief."
I feel at times, misunderstood and judged because I am now feel "OK"- after much previous turmoil- that my children are eternally safe now, and joyful with Jesus.
The kind of attitude I am presented with by other bereaved Moms, is often a variation of….
"I am NOT OK"! I will NEVER be "OK" with my child's death!" I LOVE them too much to be "OK" about the fact they went to Heaven!" and then the ouch factor..."I will NEVER stop loving and missing my child!"
I used to feel conflicted…because I, too, dearly love and adore-and miss- my children now with Jesus. I loved them full-force-max before they transitioned, and I love them full-force- max now! Hearing a bereaved Mom, equating the amount of suffering undergone- and unrelentingly continuing- as proof and testament to her love for her child, can be kind of hurtful to somebody like me who has made peace, with the now fully digested truth, that my children are with Jesus in Paradise. And I STILL love and miss my children.
Peace finally came to me, when I was finally able to realize in my heart, that my loss was truly their gain. I had been filled with prior feelings of resentment and feeling cheated-for both them and me-in regard to what I later realized as "earthly" desires.
Is it that big a deal, that Lisa never dated and married…when she has Jesus for her eternal spouse? She never had her own children. BUT…she now loves everyone with the purest kind of love that one can have. Isn't that the essence of being a mother? And so I've come up with answers in a similar manner to all the prior, "I think we got cheated!" kind of feeling I previously had.
God Restores. That concept, was given to me by the Holy Spirit, while recovering in my hospital bed after the wreck. It was a "Word of Knowledge". At the time, I had no idea what I was going to do with this new word, "Restoration." God always knows in advance, what to give us for future struggles as a help and an aid. Whether we realize that at the time, is irrelevant.
There came a time for me, when my Christian beliefs, outran my near despair over my childrens' physical death.
Jesus asks us what we're doing any differently than anyone else, when we are friendly and kind--only to those always friendly and kind to us. I feel it's the same kind of thinking in regard to grief. As a Christian, how is my long range grief, any different than those who have "no hope"? Jesus expects me to believe His promises, and that is a guarantee that my bereavement-although painful-is temporary.
Should I be forever in unrelenting, near despair sorrow when my child physically dies? Key words "forever and unrelenting"…At first, it is impossible not to feel overwhelming, incapacitating and unrelenting grief. But I believe that at some point, our Christian beliefs must kick into gear and free us, because we choose to remember and truly BELIEVE what our Christian truths tell us. And there's no room for utter, despondent, unrelenting despair--if we truly recall and BELIEVE. This follows no timetable. But I feel that there is a choice to be made- at some point- in every bereaved Mom's journey, where she will need to make a choice. Choose life, or death. Believe our child is STILL TRULY ALIVE (and happy!) or deader than a doorknob and we're never going to see that child ever again. Ever.
That's the difference I feel, between those who grieve and have no hope…and Christians. Our hope is what sustains us and gives us the God-given Strength, to carry on as good soldiers of Christ. He's our Commander in Chief. He gives us the command and we respond for our own good, and the good of others we share on our earthly journey.
How can I unrelentingly grieve, when I firmly believe in my heart and soul, that my children are with Jesus in Paradise? How could I want them to return to this vale of tears-this war zone called earthly life-when they have reached the summit of joy and perfection by being with God? And I want them back here with me on earth…why again?
As a Christian believer, I BELIEVE that I will be with my kids again, who are now, essentially, enjoying their "winning the lottery"…They are more than OK, and if I ever start to waffle back to earthly concerns, only need to remind myself of the beautiful, bountiful assurance that Jesus tells us, of crossing over into "Paradise."