Forward. That is the direction I need to be moving. Forward is where our son is. Forward is where I will see my Savior face to face.
This blog is part of my strategy for moving forward. If I can document the sweetness of the past and the pain of present, perhaps it will be easier to move forward. If I can get it all on paper, then it won’t be forgotten. Hans won’t be forgotten.
But of course it is not possible to get it all on paper. Even a short life has millions of moments. And there is much I do not wish to share, private blessings that I want to keep all to myself; treasures that are more precious because no one else saw them. Forgive me if keep these few jewels for myself. Anyway, how do you get a special look or a smell or a voice, or the sound of laughter onto paper? And even if it were possible, it wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else.
As I began writing, it was mostly for my own benefit. It helped to make constructive use of my pain. But, as the anguish eased somewhat (they were right about that), it occurred to me that maybe I should share this. During the first weeks and months after Hans went home to be with the Lord, I read every book written by a grieving parent that I could get my hands on. I needed to hear from someone who had been through this. I am extremely thankful to those parents who put their own loss into words for the rest of us. Only you know how helpful this is. I pray this blog might help someone, too.
I also read all I could find written by reliable sources about Heaven. I would alternate reading books about the sorrow of losing a child with books about the joys of a place too wonderful for us to imagine.
Joy and sorrow. For me these two concepts are now inextricably linked. I used to think they were emotions, on extreme ends of a spectrum, that could not be experienced at the same time. I did not know joy and sorrow could be joined together in a hurting heart, each intensifying the other. I know better now.
So many painful moments, times when just breathing seemed too much, joy would rise up through the tears, not to displace the sorrow but to engulf and sanctify it. This overwhelming marriage of emotions would sometimes come without warning. Other times I could feel it building and I would need to find a place to be alone before it peaked. I began to call this new emotion I was feeling by name – Joysorrow.
I know there will also be joyful moments in the future like weddings, births, holidays, golden leaves against a clear blue sky on a crisp autumn morning, and everyday joys that will be infused with sorrow because Hans is not there to share in it with us. But I know the joy will be there, too. Joysorrow.
So I have learned that joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin. One is meaningless without the other. Together they are the stuff of which life is made. Our sorrow is redeemed and transformed by joy; our joy tempered and matured by sorrow.
Only Almighty God could unite two such opposing forces and render from them something glorious.