Lord God, Your unfailing love and compassion for me are amazing. Even when I rail against You, You love me just as much. Show me how to have Your compassion for others. Amen.This came from a recent GriefShare e-mail. It made me think about my own compassion for others. Has the grief I've encountered over these last 10 months changed me for the better?
In some ways, it has. I am much more aware of the difficult anniversaries that those who remain on earth have to face, and I do my best to let those who have lost loved ones know that I am thinking of them, that I am remembering with them. Until you've been down that road yourself, I don't know that you can fully understand how hard it can be to face dates that remind of your loved one. It's painful to think about your baby's milestones that will never be. Or that it's been so many months since you heard your mom's laugh.
A dear friend, though she has not experienced the death of a child, dared to step into my world and remember those anniversary dates early on. She knew the 7th and the 17th of those first months were emotional days for me. She knew that Sundays were difficult for months, and she faithfully let me know that she was thinking of me. It didn't take away the pain I was feeling, but it let me know that I wasn't as alone as I felt. I knew that I wasn't the only one remembering Kristen.
There's another side to that compassion that I am struggling with now. It's the side that takes me right back to the PICU at Children's Mercy Hospital. It's the side that remembers how it feels to sit helplessly in a hospital room, unable to do anything to change the circumstances. I heard just a couple of days ago about an 8 year-old girl in NC named Ellie Potvin. She lost her battle with cancer today, and I wept aloud as I read the CaringBridge entry in which her mother shared that her sweet daughter had breathed her last breath on this earth. I had never heard of the Potvin family before this week, yet I have been touched so deeply by their loss.
A cousin on my husband's dad's side of the family had surgery last Friday and never regained consciousness. We just got word this evening that she passed away. My heart has been with the family throughout the last few days as they have waited for test results. I remember waiting for test results. I remember looking for those small signs that Kristen was going to be fine. I remember. And it hurts to remember. And my heart breaks for Ann's family.
Could the memories of such a painful experience be useful? I expect they can and will. Perhaps one day God will use me to reassure someone else that, despite their circumstances, God is still in control and God is still good. Because He is.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28