The morning rays of the sun touched the surface of the water causing diamond shape reflections to dance on the surface of a new wave forming before cresting into a white spray.  The woman standing on the outskirts of the water appeared mesmerized by the sparkles as she held a small boy’s hand.

The boy scrunched up his face and pulled at the hand holding onto his.  Feeling the boy struggle to get free, the mother held on tighter and bent down to warn the boy of the danger from the strong tides that could whisk him away.

Fascinated with the water, the boy pointed at the waves then protruded his lips and looked up at his mother with a downturned brow.  He wanted to play catch with the waves but was forced to watch from a distance with his mother.

As the years flew by the boy got older.  Often, he would venture out into the ocean playing with the waves but always made it back to the sandy beach, sometimes a little beaten up.  One day the tide was exceptionally strong and swept him under.  He struggled to be in control but eventually passed out as the current tossed and turned the young man like a rag doll along with rocks and other debris in the water.

The mother noticed that her son had not resurfaced and ran to the edge of the water to get a better look.  This was when she saw a bearded man come walking up out of the water with waves crashing around him carrying her child.  When the man reached the mother, he laid the young man on the shore and allowed the woman to nurse the wounds.

For months, the young man stayed in his mothers’ care slowly healing and gaining his strength back.  The two had talks and got to know one another a little better.  Then the son left.  With tears in her eyes, the mother wondered when she would see her child again.

Time passed by and faithfully she prayed for the safety of her precious boy.  One day the young man went sailing not aware of the storm brewing off in the distance.  Before he could get his boat to safety, the storm overcame him, tossing the boat like a toy and eventually was submerged.  The man was knocked unconscious, and the strong undertow drugged him further in the depths of the sea until the ocean released him and swept him up onto the beach.

Seeing something on the shore, the mother went out to investigate and found her son lying lifeless on the wet sand.  Dumbfounded, the mother dropped to her knees to have a better look wondering if her eyes were playing tricks on her.

The mother reached out to touch the boy’s cheek with the palm of her hand.  Immediately she pulled her hand away for the coldness of his lifeless body scared her.  Then from the depths of her body the mother let out a wail as she reached for the boy bringing him close to her chest holding him tightly.

She rocked back and forth with her son in her arms as the pain in her chest exploded.  With tears streaming down her cheeks, she cried drowning out the ocean’s sound.   Quietly the bearded man appeared and stood next to her allowing his own tears to flow as he patiently waited for the mother to express her deep pain of the loss of her child.

Once the mother had quieted down from sheer exhaustion, the bearded man knelt next to her and spoke.  “Your pain is mine too.  I have stood next to your son since he was born, and he was never alone through his pain and suffering.  Now, let me take him home where he can rest and be at peace.  You will see your son again one day and he will be smiling when he greets you.”

The mother slowly released her hold of the limp body and allowed the bearded man to gather up the young man into his arms.  The mother stood and watched as the bearded man walked away until she could no longer see them knowing that Jesus had taken her son home to heaven.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. — Psalm 29:11

Recently I received horrible news that a very dear friend of mine had just lost her son.  It was devastating news to hear.  I struggled to find words of comfort to tell my friend, but I came up empty.  What do you say to a grieving parent who just lost their child?

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. — Psalm 91:4

I think many of us have experienced losing a loved one at least once or twice in our lifetime.  It is painful but we accept it as part of life.  But no parent should have to bury their child.

I have had a couple of miscarriages and those were emotionally painful, but I don’t think it could match the depth of sorrow that a parent feels after raising a child, loving them beyond infinity and then losing them.  The pain, sorrow and agony can only be understood by those who have suffered the same loss.

A wife who loses a husband is called a widow.

A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.

A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.

There is no word for a parent who loses a child.

That’s how awful the loss is. – Jay Neugeboren – An Orphans’Tale – 1976

A side note:  After doing some research I found a word, “vilomah.”  It’s from one of the oldest languages called Sanskrit that was used to describe a parent who had lost their child.  Vilomah means “against a natural order.”

I would like to tell my friend that time heals the heart, but I don’t know if that is true in this case.  I think all I can do for my friend is love her, be available for her, and pray for her.

May I always take hold of every opportunity to cherish the moments I have with my family and friends.  Lord, grant me insight on how to comfort and be available for my friend in this difficult tragic time in her life.  And Lord, for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, please envelope them with your love and peace.

“The death of a child is never really in the past. It is a loss that unfolds around you, moment by moment, year by year.” – Author Unknown

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