As I was leaving church last Sunday, I caught sight of my niece, who had lost her baby daughter a little over a month ago, and as she smiled and waved, I could see behind her smile the deep sadness that lies in her heart. Then she turned to get into their pickup and I thought of how she must be feeling, the pain that is always with her now, the loss that she will always feel, the mother’s heart and empty arms. It is an ache that will stay with her for a long time.

I have never lost a child, so I couldn’t really understand how awful that must feel, I just know that my heart aches for my niece, who I love very much. I wish there was a way that I could ease her pain, but there just isn’t, and when I try, I feel like I make things worse for her by stirring up the thoughts and memories again. Memories of a life too soon over and the promise that life held gone. Yes, we know she is in Heaven with her Lord and Savior, and that she has seen the Father, and been held in his arms, she has seen her grandparents that have gone before her, and her little cousin, also a baby daughter whose life was too soon over, but for those left behind it is hard to take joy in those things, because we want them here with us, selfishly perhaps, but none the less that’s how we feel.

I don’t think there can possibly be a more painful experience than losing a child, no matter what the circumstances, or how old they are, because parents shouldn’t bury their children. It is just not the proper order of things. Our children should live a long life, filled with joyful experiences and happy moments, and when it doesn’t work out that way, our whole universe feels like it is out of sync.

This isn’t a story with a happy ending, or an encouraging moral, it is just a story of reality at one of its most painful moments, the loss of a child, the moment that you can see the impact of that loss, the mother’s heart and empty arms. I love you Jenny and I wish I could take your pain away, but since I can’t, I can only pray for peace in your mother’s heart, and comfort for your empty arms.

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