The death of a child is one of the most difficult life events: Children are supposed to outlive their parents.
The painful loss of a child by sudden death is not something any parent ever wants to experience. It’s out of sequence and interrupts the normal family life cycle. Children are supposed to outlive their parents. However, when tragedy strikes, parents often find themselves asking specific questions. These questions are normal and part of the grieving process. Perhaps the most difficult questions for any person with faith is, “God, why?”
Children are the most important emotional focus in a family. They are extensions of us, representing our hopes, dreams and unfulfilled expectations. We want to give our children all that we can. We love and esteem them, and we can’t imagine our lives without them. Nothing can be as painful as losing a child, an event made even more horrible by the aspect of sudden death.
Most people view the death of a child as one of life’s greatest tragedies and challenges. Children are not supposed to die before their parents; it’s out of sequence. We expect to help our children grow and to launch them into the world. When they die suddenly, that launching never occurs, the family life cycle is interrupted and our dreams come crashing down.
The sudden death of a child brings on intense and prolonged emotional pain. Adjusting to a child’s death is more difficult than any other family life-cycle transition.
All members of the family are shaken and affected by the tragedy, and with sudden death, there is no anticipated grieving. Siblings are frightened, feeling lost and confused, and marriages come under tremendous strain. Sudden death raises apprehension about the future, brings on a sense of insecurity and is hard to grasp because of the overwhelming pain. Families who experience the sudden death of a child commonly ask several questions:
Did it really happen?
It takes time for the full impact of the loss to register. The initial reaction is disbelief, shock or numbness.
Could I have done something more—or differently?
“If only…” It’s normal to rehearse various scenarios in our minds as to how we could have prevented the death.
Am I worthy of living?
“What did I do to deserve to live?” This is known as survivor’s guilt.
Who can I blame?
When we experience anything out of our control, we want to blame someone or something as a way to make sense of it.
Why do I have to deal with all the medical and legal authorities?
At the time of a sudden death, no one wants to deal with questions from police, coroners, doctors, investigators and other officials. We feel they are invading our private moments of grief, and they are. Yet sometimes these intrusive questions are vital to obtaining needed information. We also feel a sense of morbidity when we deal with funeral directors, the county coroner and others trying to make funeral arrangements. These people are accustomed to murder and death. Sometimes they appear insensitive and uncaring.
Why can’t I talk to him or her one more time?
Obviously you can’t prepare for sudden death because you don’t know it’s coming. The last thing said may have been pleasant and loving. Maybe you were able to give a last hug, smile at your child or tell her you loved her. Maybe you had an argument, were hurried that morning, didn’t speak or had to discipline. Regrets and unfinished business are normal. Don’t dwell on them. It serves no purpose.
It’s OK to ask this, and you will, many times. There is no easy answer. You may never know, and that’s the toughest part of saying goodbye.
The holidays can bring overwhelming demands, over commitment, worries about finances, and unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, as a reaction to all the busyness, we find ourselves feeling down or little blue.
So how can you fight those down feelings?
1) Think balance and moderation. Excessive demands, extra commitments, overeating, little sleep and no exercise can all bring you out of balance and lead to feeling tired and irritable . Bring balance to a busy time by pacing yourself and slowing down enough to exercise self-care.
2) Don’t isolate. Make sure you don’t isolate yourself. A trigger for depression this time of year is isolating and avoiding people. Stay in touch with friends, people in your church and loved ones.
3) Participate in uplifting holiday activities. Go to a sing along, a caroling night, a church performance of the Messiah, a play. Churches have a lot going on this time of year. Attending the festivities will uplift your spirit.
4) Give to others. One of the best ways to feel better is to give. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take toys to the underprivileged, help with decorations at a school or church, offer to collect money for a charity, etc.
5) Monitor your thoughts. You can feel down if your thoughts begin to go negative. Don’t grumble and complain. If you focus on what is wrong versus what is positive, you will feel down. Take your thoughts captive. Think of things that are good, count your blessings and stay positive.
Joe and Rachel were fighting over a common parenting issue. Of course, both were convinced they were right because of the way they were raised. Differences noted, but they had to come to some agreement as to how to actually discipline their teen.
Conflict is a normal part of any relationship. But the way conflict is handled is important. Here are 6 ways to cultivate a healthy relationship when it comes to handling differences:
1) Identify your way and your spouse’s way of handling differences. For example, do you tend to rationally go at a problem and he tends to avoid? Joe wanted to listen to his teen daughter’s reason for disobedience before he decided her punishment. Rachel felt the reason was unimportant and was ready to levy the consequence. Both realized that their different styles had to be acknowledged. Then it was up to the couple to decide what to do.
2) Develop a compatible style of handling differences. An avoider and a fighter don’t do well together. If both of you avoid, you may do well because the styles are compatible.The same is true of two fighters, but when a fighter and avoider get together, accommodations in style differences will need to be made.
3) Choose a biblical model for handling differences. For example, look at Matthew 18: Go to the person, address the problem, bring in another person if you get stuck, etc.
4) Practice anger management. Review the guidelines in my Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness book. Anger is not wrong, but you can sin in the way you handle anger. For example, no shouting, name-calling, holding on to unresolved anger, etc.
5) Choose to forgive and move towards reconciliation.
6) Agree to disagree over the nonessential differences. Sometimes the best thing to do is to simply allow the differences. For example, rolling toilet paper up or down is not a life sustaining difference. if your partner does it differently, is it really that big of a deal?
Remember, differences are normal. How they are handled is what is important.
The final popular consecutive date sequence in our lifetime, 12-12-12 is today! Some people want to make it a day to remember.
According to Danielle Lerner, a survey by David’s Bridal estimates 43% of brides have considered planning their wedding dates on this date. Pretty amazing considering how many of you married on a Wednesday? One thing for sure, your husband will probably remember the date of your anniversary!
But there is another bride who will be noticed this 12-12-12. It is the bride of Christ, the church.
Last year on 11-11-11 was the first Global Day of Worship. This year, on 12-12-12, Global Day of Worship is happening again. Only this time, it originates from Jerusalem.
You can participate in this global event by clicking on this link. Watch and listen from your computer as people all over the world dedicate one day to a global experience of worship. What a powerful day this is going to be.
From the website…
On December 12, 2012 – from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in each time zone -a wave of worship and adoration will span the globe and unite all believers as one body. Utilizing 24 time zones, we will agree with and join the 24 elders, spoken of in Revelation 4, who are already worshiping Jesus around the throne. It is when the worship of heaven meets the worship of earth that spiritual climates of nations will shift as we serve faithfully here and now in preparation for His return.
On this day, we will not to focus on asking, or petitioning the Lord. We will simply gaze upon His beauty, thank Him for His love, and declare His attributes and goodness in our lives, families, communities and nations.
Click on the link and remember this date for the adoration you gave as the bride of Christ.