My kids lost their mom to cancer just over 6 years ago. That was a defining moment. Their lives were forever altered. As much as I wanted the outcome of Lori’s illness to be different for their sake…it wasn’t. And all the things I believed about God, his sovereignty, his mercy and his plan…were tested. Are still being tested…
“Why?” is a question that doesn’t necessarily apply just to big divides over theology and the mysteries of God. There are plenty of “why?” questions that pop up all on their own. (and it’s not like we don’t want to know those “why?” answers too.) And some of them are knowable…or at least guess-able…some not so much.
These days…and for the most part…I leave the big God whys? alone. My feeling is that once we’re in heaven we will just know the answers. I don’t think we’ll need to “take a number” to talk to Jesus about any burning question we had here on earth. I can’t prove that in scripture…but I think you’ll find I’m right. If I’m not…come find me in heaven and I’ll apologize 😉 I might give you my place in line!
Losing a parent creates a lot of conflict and questions in a child’s mind and heart. I don’t think there’s a lot of blame that they take on as sometimes happens in divorce…but when a parent dies, it’s a different dynamic.
I’m no doctor, and all I can do is observe my own kids. I’m not trying to draw any psychological conclusions or provide any answers ’cause I don’t have them. Our family is still a work in progress. I just want to point out a danger and a conflict I go through on a daily basis for those parents who may have a challenge with their kids after a huge loss like our family experienced.
Don’t try to tie every behavioral issue back to the loss…like I often do.
You will create a box for them, a box around them that you will try to keep them in…to protect them (you say to yourself.) In that box that you’ve created, no real-life rules apply. You can justify just about everything because of the loss of mom or dad…but you keep them from the growth that comes from consequences (their own consequences)…good and bad. That should be evident to us…but somebody needs to inform our hearts of that truth. Or maybe it’s just me.
I tend to live vicariously through my kids when it comes to the loss of Lori. How would I react to this? What would I be feeling? Am I mad at God? I wish mom were here now…and a thousand other things…none of which are helpful or encouraging by the way. In the end I can, and often do, end up making excuses for questionable behavior…bad decisions. For friend choices…for life choices.
Here’s a truth I’m having to learn…they are young adults and they WILL make mistakes, have bad days…choose friends I don’t like…have car accidents…have broken hearts and experience life as God gives them breath. They will all deal with Lori’s death differently and in their own time…but they are all alive and moving through adult life. They don’t need me to live vicariously through them…they need me to allow them to live their own lives. They will take each decision as it comes. I am there to help and gently guide and direct… but ultimately they will make the decision and (for the most part) live with the consequence…good or bad.
Part of the wisdom that we should have as moms and dads is knowing when the right time and age is to simply let them go. Step back. Watch them fly.
Listen…all wisdom comes from God. Some of the more practical wisdom comes from experience. I am thrilled when I’m smart enough to apply both correctly. That doesn’t happen as often as it should.