Monday night my six year old daughter came running to my bedroom with tears streaming down her eyes. She was crying so hard I could barely decipher the words coming out of her mouth. "Mommy, I miss daddy.... Life isn't the same without him.... Why did he have to die???? Why didn't God heal daddy????I wish God would let him come back."
Why can't the difficult questions my children ask be "Mommy, where do babies come from?" Why, at seven and six do they have to ask "Mommy, why didn't God heal daddy?" Most six year olds are playing with toys, learning to read and watching their favorite television shows. For the most part, so is my daughter but then there are nights like Monday where the tears stream down her face for an hour. Or there are days where I find her in her bedroom, holding a picture of her dad to her chest silently crying and when she sees me asks, "Mommy, why didn't God heal daddy?"
My children ask me questions I don't have the answer to. As I held her Monday night, tears began streaming down my own eyes. And I silently asked God if He saw the pain we were in. What life is like after the funeral ends is so foreign to many people, because for most who attend a funeral, their life continues when the funeral ends. But for those intimately connected to the deceased, life doesn't continue. It changes. It is altered forever. It doesn't go on. The tears don't stop after the funeral ends. The pain doesn't stop after the funeral ends. The sadness doesn't go away after the funeral ends. If anything, the tears increase with intensity. The pain lingers in the background and violently storms to the front at times. Sadness sticks around for weeks, months and years.
On the outside, we look normal. Those who know about our loss probably think "They are doing so well." Those who don't know us, would never suspect that someone so close to us died. But someone so close to us did die. And my children ask me, "Why didn't God heal daddy?" After a person dies, that is a question most of us have but sometimes are afraid to vocalize. We think it means we are questioning God and so we keep the question inside of us. I am thankful my children aren't afraid to ask the hard questions. And when they do, I don't make up an answer. I don't put together words that sound good. I don't tell them that God needed someone else in heaven. I hold them and I say, "I don't know." Because I don't know why God allowed my husband to die. I don't know why God allowed this indescribable pain to hit our home. I don't know why God allowed two children to grow up without their dad. I don't know why God allowed a wife to lose her husband. I don't know why.
As I held my daughter on Monday with tears streaming down my face because of the tears streaming down her face, I asked God to hold me as I tight as I was holding her. I asked Him to hold me when I felt as though I was crumbling into pieces. I asked Him to throw me out a life vest on the days where I feel as though I've been treading water for so long. I asked Him to comfort me on the nights when the dinner table seems so empty. I asked Him to draw closer to me on the days I am too weak to take another step. I asked Him to strengthen me when the pain refuses to leave. I asked Him to grab my hand when the tunnel of grief seems so dark. I asked Him to remind me of His promises on the days my future seems so unclear. I asked God to hold me when the tears fall from my eyes.
"Mommy, why didn't God heal daddy?"
I don't know. I'll never know. But I do know that in the midst of our pain, God isn't telling us to stop hurting. He isn't telling us that enough time has passed and I shouldn't miss my husband anymore. He isn't telling me that we shouldn't be sad anymore. He isn't telling us that we will never heal if we don't move on. He isn't telling us to stop mourning. He isn't telling us to stop hurting.
But He is telling us that He won't leave us. He is telling us that He is our comfort in the midst of sorrow. He is telling us that we can trust Him. He is telling us that He is our strength in the midst of weakness. He is telling us that He is our source of healing. He is telling us that He is our hope in the midst of darkness. He is telling us that He is our peace when we don't understand.
"Mommy, why didn't God heal daddy?"
"I don't know, but I do know as long as we stay committed to God, He will get us through these difficult days."
In 2016 I self-published a book When Cancer Invades Your Home. In the last chapter, I wrote about what cancer does to a family. I ended the book writing that cancer can't win. Although my husband passed away a few months after the book was published, cancer didn't win. God won. God always wins. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.