Sixteen years ago, we buried my daughter’s father. It remains to this day one of the greatest losses of my life. My daughter still struggles on many levels from the grief that stole too much of her childhood.
I was so young and wild when I married him after a two-day courtship. Five years later, we would finalize a lengthy, heartbreaking divorce. Thankfully after the papers were signed, we made our peace with each other and began to bond in a beautiful friendship as parents to our incredible little girl.
Within months of the divorce, I received a call at work that his heart had given out the night before on his father’s couch. My daughter and I, having just spent the weekend with him two weeks before, were absolutely devastated. At the time, I was struggling with Christianity which kept me from fully realizing that we would one day see him again.
The finality of losing him without an understanding of Heaven completely overwhelmed me.
Susan Mead recently sent me her impactful little book, Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace. Oh how I wish my belief system had matched hers all those years ago.
Susan lost her son, Kyle, when he was only 20 years old. She shares this in the book immediately followed by the simple, yet shocking statement, “I’m so blessed.” Her unwavering faith in Christ, including visions of seeing her precious son dancing with Him, gave her the strength to truly feel blessed in the face of such great adversity.
The loss of Susan’s son was not the only grief she suffered. Her sister, a PhD nurse, committed suicide. The day before Kyle’s death, Susan attended her sister-in-law’s husband’s memorial service. Four years to the day of Kyle’s final breath, her sister-in-law passed away as well.
These tragedies would be enough to shake even the strongest faith to the core. Yet as Susan so wisely shares, “It is our response to an event that shows our character, not the event itself.” As my own faith grows, I understand this more every day.
She discusses that although she misses Kyle terribly, it would be selfish to want him back here “because he is now in Paradise with Jesus.” I finally understand this as well. My daughter and I still miss her father deeply, but I’m thankful to know where he is today. I’m also comforted by the fact we will see him again.
Susan now spends her mornings in her kitchen dancing with Jesus just as she continues to envision her beloved son doing. I will never look at the matching tattoos my daughter and I share on our feet the same. They both read “I hope you dance” which is our song. It is no accident this book ended up in my hands.
Please take time today to hold your people a little closer. Remember they are what life is all about.
“It may be the last kind word, hug, or kiss you get to share with them. You deserve that special, sacred time too. Things get broken, discarded, or replaced. People matter.”
~Susan B. Mead, Dance With Jesus
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