It feels as if you are two different people at the same time – I am pulled from one direction to another with little control over my emotions. One minute I am at peace, because I have confidence that God is in control and the faith to continue trusting him. The next minute the dark hole under the covers of my bed calls me to climb in and never come out again.
The struggle is difficult and very real, as you know if you have lost someone you love. This path is not easy – in the same way that no suffering is easy. The journey of healing from the loss of a child is hard and filled with grief and despair like nothing I have experienced. When you are teetering between the path of depression and the path of peace it requires making a conscious, intentional choice about the path you will follow. And inevitably, the paths sometimes get crossed.
I can go a full day, week, or month even without crying at the thought of my child being dead. I can talk about Andrew and be perfectly fine. In fact, I love to talk about him. However, in an instant, out of the clear blue, I am standing in the shower crying my eyes out, sitting at a stop light with tears streaming down my face, standing in church unable to catch my breath because the pain is just too difficult … all at the thought of God taking him from me that July 14th evening.
I believe, from everything I have read and heard from others, this is normal and to be expected.
The key to this journey for me has been to not get stuck. Stuck in the depression that leads to destruction.
Very few people know that this is not my first rodeo with the temptation of depression. After my second child, I suffered for two years from depression and then again after having a miscarriage before my third child. My thoughts often pulled me to the “dark side,” constantly tempting me to fear the loss of my children. The worry and anxiety was crippling, and it impacted all of the relationships around me, including the most important earthly relationship – my husband. In hindsight, those experiences were preparing me for something much greater. I learned that I have a choice.
I have to consciously choose…
- Light over Darkness
- Hope over Despair
- Faith over Fear
- Courage over Anxiety
- Trust over Worry
- Peace over Depression
I was in a women’s bible study at the time, and the Holy Spirit led me to a most wonderful, Christian woman and mentor. We met Tuesday nights. She prayed with me and spoke God’s truth over me as I cried out my irrational fears to the Lord. Every time the dark thoughts plagued me, I chose to pray, to plead with God to take the thoughts away. I read the Bible daily. I committed my children to the Lord, because after all, he has given them to me for just a short time on this earth. I don’t like medication and avoid it when I possibly can so it probably took longer for me to get “better.” It was hard and took a long time, but as time passed, the thoughts began to fade away. The darkness began to lift and the light returned to my life. All because I chose Jesus.
Fast forward five years, God already knew what I would experience. He knew that Andrew would only be with me four short days, just as he knows the life of every one of his children.
Psalm 139:16 says “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
From the first day I learned I was pregnant to the last day I held my little boy, I intentionally committed Andrew to the Lord. My hope and trust in the Lord allowed me to stay focused on him through it all. From the very beginning, God helped me to choose light, hope, faith, courage, and trust, knowing it all might not turn out the way I desired. The only way I knew this was the right path from the start was because God had allowed me to experience and learn from depression in my past.
Today, I work daily with the Lord to push the dark away by being intentional about the path I choose. I choose peace while I wait for the day I am reunited with my little boy. I choose peace while I wait to spend all of eternity with my Lord and Savior, absent of pain, suffering, and tears. Finding peace in the waiting is only possible when we put our hope in Jesus, because HE IS PEACE – the Prince of Peace.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Disclaimer: I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor so I cannot speak, medically, to the affects of depression or the need for care. I can only speak to my personal experience with depression and what I did to overcome it.