Tuesday, April 17, 2007



Every time, and I mean EVERY TIME, I hear of someone's life that has come to a sudden end, I'm immediately transported back to the scene of the wreck where my sister was killed. Something that I've been trying to do since May 2, 1999 is to heal from that very painful loss. At times my healing affected my entire life. Then at other times I felt as though I was, "all better." But as I mentioned above, every-once-in-a-while, something triggers that memory and brings back those painful feelings. I have come to realize that you don't forget or "get over" the loss of someone. Healing is something that takes time, patience, and practice. So, in order to help those who are beginning the healing process, what does it mean to heal? How does one heal oneself? When does one heal? How long does healing take? Should they rest in being blessed by God because they're one of those who mourn? What if I can't heal...what then? These are questions that too many people are beginning to ask right now.

We know of 33 families from yesterday's tragic shooting at Virginia Tech that are beginning the difficult process of healing. The entire VT Campus rallied tonight to begin "healing". There are countless families attempting to heal after losing loved ones in the Iraqi War. So many of my friends have buried brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, cousins, and friends. When we speak about those times you can almost see the wounds left that are still very fresh and raw...not quite yet a scar.

If you are one of those people whose had to say good-bye too soon. If you've been on that road to healing, please share. I ask that you ALL use the comments section to tell of how you healed and/or are healing. What is your story? How are you coping? Who knows, your story may help someone.


Blogger The Trousered Ape said...

brother, i know we had that talk one evening and if there is anything i know about hurt and healing, it is this.

if a pot is cracked, it cannot heal itself, it needs a potter to mend it. if we are hurt and wounded, i am not so sure that we are meant to heal ourselves, but He who created us can mend us and heal us.

i'll keep you in my prayers.


April 18, 2007 at 6:12 AM  
Blogger Marta said...

Okay, you asked for it. At 16 I lost my mom to brain cancer. At 20 I lost my aunt (my mom's sister)to ovarian cancer. At 22 one of my best friends to breast cancer. And in just the last year we lost my 20-yr-old cousin (on my mom's side) to kidney failure and a dear friend in a car accident in the mission field of Uganda. And, as I posted a while back on my blog, I get sad, I get angry and I throw pity parties for myself. And then I feel guilty for all of those feelings. And then I get tired. Somewhere in there I manage to be grateful and happy about the fact that ever had all of these wonderful people in my life. And God gives me peace and I go on. And this is the dance I've been dancing for almost 10 years. And the only truth I can find is that complete healing will only come on the day we are all reunited with our Lord and the ones we've loved and lost. Until then we just have to keep leaning on Him for strength and peace on the days we're overwhelmed with pain and grief. And on the days when we don't hurt so much or at all we've got to be thankful for a God that gives us peace and respite from the pains and hurts of this broken world. So, I know you already know all of that. But I must say that it helps just to type it. It's a good reminder to me. Please know that I'm praying for you as you search for your healing and as you miss your sister. God bless you my friend.

April 18, 2007 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

Shawn, Thanks for your words or wisdom. I'm graetful for your friendship.

Marta, WOW! I've always known that you are an incredible woman...and this just solidified that even more. Thanks for sharing how you're coping.

Just to clear up my post. I, personally, am not asking for ideas of how to heal from the loss of my sister. I did not write this post as a prayer request for me. I know that several people look at my blog each day that are dealing with a very real pain...and need healing. I asked for others to share their stories to help others heal.

I am still healing just as Shawn and Marta are. But intent is for others who are just beginning that long road of healing/coping to be able to read your stories and find hope, rest, comfort, and ideas.

Thank you for the prayers, as I always love it when people pray for me; however, I am not the sole focus of this post, everyone who's lost someone is. Thanks again...and please continue sharing your stories...they are amazing and a huge help to so many!

April 18, 2007 at 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome blog. Thanks for letting us share.
One of my very best friends died of leukemia when I was 26. Jan, my wife lost both of her parents early in our marriage to lung cancer and then 15 years later to soft tissue cancer. I lost my dad 3 years ago. One of the kids in my youth group drowned in a river when he was 19. Really when I think of the pain in the world and how to cope with it I usually turn to one of my favorite scirptures of hope. "In this world you will have troubles, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world!" John 16:33
Healing is a process but an impossible process without the One who He Himself lived it and overcame it. Our only hope is in Him.
the old guy

April 19, 2007 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger D.L. White said...

Josh - thank you SO much for this post. You put into words things that I sometimes have a hard time explaining to others. Like how you can be going along and be "fine" with all of it, then BOOM out of nowhere, something jostles my memory or I hear of someone else's loss and in my mind, I'm standing by my father's hospital bed, saying good-bye, or standing over the grave of my sister-in-law, and the hurt of it is as fresh and real in my mind, as if it happened yesterday.

It's been almost 9 years since I lost my dad to cancer, but still some days it hurts and is so raw. It's hard when people (who have not had this experience yet) ask why you're sad, and you tell them, and they say, that's been a long time ago - aren't you over it by now?

You don't ever "get over it", but as you say, with time, patience, prayer and practice, it does get better.

I also appreciate that you referenced Psalm 34:18. That was the verse I CLUNG to when my dad was sick and dying, because we were in the eye of the storm. There were no explanations for the heartbreaking suffering we were all going thru. That was the only verse that gave me any comfort.

Initially, I was mad at God for not answering our prayers and healing my dad, until it was pointed out to me, that my dad WAS healed - just not in the way I had wanted. He was no longer suffering, no longer in pain. And there were so many blessings that came out of his death, that I couldn't fully comprehend until later. God does indeed work all things for good.

However, that doesn't mean there aren't days when I still rage with the feeling of unfairness or injustice of it - that my dad isn't here for me to talk to. That he was taken way too early.

One thing that also really helped me is the Bible study "Lord, Heal My Hurts" by Kay Arthur. It was a challenging study, but really helped me better understand what causes hurts in our lives, and how God ministers to our hearts, and wants to heal us if we let him.

As an aside, we must be on the same wavelength...probably because of everything that happened in Virginia this week...because the blog post I wrote today is about being homesick for heaven...a similar/connected topic.

April 20, 2007 at 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Kristie said...

Grief is a unique journey and is defined only by the person who is on it's path. What causes us to grieve and how we grieve is shaped by who we are, our past experiences and what our beliefs are. People place their faith, hope and trust in a variety of things and in turn, grieve for a variety of things. I have seen people grieve deeply over the loss of a relationship, a job or position, a home, a pet. I have had my share of grief in my life but as the parents of all the VT kids know, none compares to the loss of a child. For me, I thought my life was at it's best point ever until I received the call that my teenage daughter had been killed in an accident. My initial response was denial. They were wrong, it wasn't Nikki that had died. When I heard the news, it was like my mind suffered such a blow that I literally had a brain injury. I did not know how to function. All I could think of then, and for years to come, was how much I wanted to die. I was not suicidal, I just didn't want to live in this awful world anymore. I have other children and I love them every bit as much as I do Nikki, but her loss was so overwhelming and consuming that she was all I could think of. As a family, each of us dealt with our grief in our own way but all of us had suffered this horrible brain injury and the recovery process can be very slow. Often, we came together and supported each other but there were also those times, much like a wounded animal, we needed to be alone to heal our wounds. Initially, friends are very helpful but after a short while, they move on to their own lives and they expect you to do the same too. Society will give you only so long to mend yourself and get back in the game before they start whispering that you "are not dealing with this very well." This is the time the griever puts on the fake smile and says "doing good" when asked "how are you?" but behind the facade is a heart encased in ice. As a mother who has lost her child, I have a heightened sense of compassion for all other mothers who share my grief. I understand when they speak of wanting to die, about the unrelenting fear they have that they may lose another child, the overwhelming panic they feel each time their other children walk out the door and the knee buckling sense of relief when they hear their voices or see them again. My husband and I banded closely together in support of one another. We can express our emotions freely and cry openly which is what we need to do. Our younger children, Bekki and Ethan, miss their sister very much and has kept many of Nikki's things which brings them a lot of comfort. Our oldest son, Jake has handled his grief in a different way. In the beginning, he was devastated and often spoke about how he was feeling. Then one day he appeared to have made the decision to put this tragedy behind him. He quit talking about Nikki, became insensitive to our tears and even quit seeing friends that knew Nikki. He has graduated from college and moved away from home but has almost completely removed himself from our family. So now we grieve the loss of two children. I have spent many hours in silent agony asking God "WHY did this happen?" Of course one can not help but look inward to ask "WHAT did I do to deserve this?" We had taken a few steps forward on the road to recovery when we realized that grief had crept in the back door and stung us again with Jake. We have endured these great losses but we have never lost hope. I read once that "hope is faith reaching out in the darkness." When you are in the midst of such unimaginable despair, you need something to hold on to. My faith has and continues to sustain me through this. I can not answer WHY all this has happened to me but as a Christian I know God provides me with a peace that surpasses all understanding. My faith has shaped how I deal with grief and my faith sustains me as I deal not only with the loss of Nikki but also the loss of Jake. I know I will see Nikki again in the next life but I continue to pray that I will see Jake again in this one. Has my faith been shaken by all the grief I have endured? Yes!! But my God has helped me to rebuild my faith on solid ground.

April 22, 2007 at 5:45 PM  

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