by Cathy Baker
Last year I had the privilege of leading a writer’s workshop for a retreat focused on caring for mothers who’ve lost a child of any age. I marveled at their strength, faith, and joy, despite the heartbreaking circumstances facing them every waking day.
Someone who knows much about this kind of pain is Dee Dee Parker, an extraordinary friend of mine, who lost her 34 year-old daughter to cancer several years ago. It’s because of the forever fragrance released through Dee Dee’s life that I asked her to share how joy is possible even on the darkest of days.
Brooke’s death was imminent.
I remember gazing into her eyes, memorizing her face. I longed to gather her frail body in my arms, a mother’s arms, designed to protect and run away to where pain could no longer ravish, and death could not steal her life’s breath.
I remember thinking how our hearts have always beaten in tandem, when her heart stops, so will mine.
I could not whisk her away. She was heaven-bound. Death did come; I was left behind. Brooke’s heart stopped beating. My heart continued beating, but not my will.
In the wee hours of morning under an ink-stained sky, I crumbled to my knees.
Yes, I paint a harsh picture, but that’s because so many of you find yourselves in a place so black, so painful, and appearing void of joy.
Since Brooke’s home going, I’ve been asked numerous times, “How have you continued on? How have you found joy?”
Truth is, I didn’t have to find my joy. My joy is in the Lord therefore it is constant, strong, and eternal. Happiness, on the other hand, like the fickle thing it is, had flown. I wasn’t happy seeing my daughter suffering or knowing I’d never hear her say mother again on this side of heaven.
Brooke was a believer; therefore, according to scripture, she is with her Savior and Lord. She no longer is paralyzed from cancer’s tentacles. Praise the Lord she has a glorified body, she dances in stardust. Brooke lives, and I will be with her again. I have reason to rejoice!
I pray that you know Christ, the foundation of joy; it comes by establishing an intimate relationship with Him. I don’t know your names, can’t see your faces, but I can pray for you in your time of heart-rending hurt. I will fling the words of Romans 15:13 to the very courts of heaven on your behalf:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Precious readers, I wish you all joy unspeakable.
Thank you, Dee Dee, for bringing difficult but powerful words to the surface for the benefit of others.
Friends, Dee Dee welcomes the opportunity to pray for you. She also wants to make herself available to those who’ve experienced the loss of a child or grandchild by lending a welcoming ear. If you would like to contact her, please email me or leave a comment. She can also be found on Facebook.
comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we
ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4