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What is Different?

It’s been almost three years since my middle son passed away.

What is different this beautiful, sunny Sunday morning from that tragic, rainy Monday morning?


I am different.

My faith is different.

My outlook on life is different.

My relationships are different.

For a long time, I pined after the person I was before my son died – a happy, trusting, open-hearted, loving, ignorant person.

I practically had everything I’d ever wanted in my life – a wonderful husband who loves me deeply; five of the most beautiful (though ornery) children God ever created; a house in the country my husband built for us with his own hands to raise those beautiful, ornery children in; four beautiful grandchildren; and so much more.

There was very little I lacked.

Don’t get me wrong, we did have some hard times.  But they proved to be the best of times as we learned to lean on and trust in God during those times like we never learned during the easy-going good times in our life.  God has been so good to us.

But I am different.

I see God differently.

In fact, I don’t know that I ever truly saw God before my son died.  More accurately, I should say that I don’t think I had a very complete picture of who God is before my son died.  I don’t think I have a completely accurate picture of who He is now, either.  But He certainly is more than I had ever seen before.

My view of life is different as well.

There is very little to live for here on this planet we call Earth.  I don’t feel quite as fatalistic as I did for the first year and a half or so after our son died, but I still don’t feel as though there is anything of eternal value to live for here except for the people God puts in our paths.  Within the first week after our middle son died, I remember my oldest son saying, “The Lord is really the only thing worth living for, isn’t He?”  Yes, my son, that sums it up quite nicely.  There is nothing worth investing our time and energy into except serving Christ by serving others with each breath He gives us here on earth.

A few weeks after our son passed away, we visited with a counselor who had lost his first-born son at 18 years of age.  I remember him saying that our “address book will change”.  At the time, I wasn’t really sure what he meant, and I didn’t believe that would be the case.  But there was some wisdom and insight in his more experiential words.  It is a very interesting thing to watch relationships change as one goes through the days, months and years of grief after a sudden, unexpected, tragic loss.  There are very few people who have the gumption and the know-how to walk the long, dreary, depressing days with someone who unexpectedly lost a healthy, active 25-year-old son.  I am not complaining!  It’s just a fact.  It can’t be easy to listen to my pain every time you see me!  But, pain is a constant fact of life for me and my family.  I have great respect and admiration for all the loved ones who have walked with us, and carried us through the past 33 months.  And I have no resentment towards those who would rather not.

I am different.

My family is different.

My relationships are different.

My understanding of God is different.

But my God is not.  

He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

He is faithful even when we are not.

His love endures forever.  

“Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.  You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.  How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light”  Psalm 36:5-9

7 comments on “What is Different?

  1. Cherie says:

    So honest and open.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ssgrovesgang says:

    I always learn and grow from reading your entries. Appreciate your transparency and honesty. Thank you for sharing your journey! I trust I’ve learned to be more able to support and give compassion to those who have suffered and are suffering loss.


    1. Thank you, Sally. I appreciate your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill Dolphin Hiebert says:

    I understand especially about the address book remark. When I lost George, I was suddenly a 3rd or 5 th wheel. That hurt, but God has given me true friends I know I can trust. And now this new journey of grief. Honestly, I am scared to death to even step into it! I start having panic attacks when the sadness hits. I just lean more into the Lord, but I don’t want to walk this path again. You come to my mind often as I have followed your journey of grief. I thank you for your openness and honesty. It makes me feel less terrorized. Love you girlfriend!


  4. Oh, Jill. I hold you in my heart and in my prayers. This is a terribly difficult journey. But God is near to the brokenhearted and is holding you.
    You are a wise and wonderful woman.
    I love you, too, dear heart. Grace and peace to you.


  5. I am so very sorry you are on this journey. I also lost my son. Yes, your address book definitely changes – please know that I care and pray you find the right path


    1. I’m so very sorry you are on this journey as well. I’m sorry for the loss of your son. There is nothing as painful as losing a child, I am sure. We are sisters in grief, members of a club we hoped and prayed to never be members of. My thoughts and prayers are for you, too. Thank you for caring and praying for me. God bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

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