TREY’s TAKE:  To The Parents of the Orlando Victims

You don’t know me – we’ve never met,  but we are connected.  I have an understanding of what you are feeling today, and I wanted to take a minute to share a few thoughts with you about the journey you began this past (horrible) Sunday.

Chances are you are in shock right now and none of this seems real.  I believe God gives us the numbness to help us survive.

Why?  That word will be your constant companion.  There is no understanding.  There is no answer.  At least not here – not now. Parents are not suppose to outlive their children.  It’s the most unnatural thing in this life.  No parent brings a child into the world with the thought that they will also be the one to bury them.  It’s horrible, and it hurts – a lot.

Your pain is real.  As an athlete there were times when I suffered immense physical pain, but nothing I ever experienced from the field of competition ever came close to the pain of losing a child.  Grief from loss of a child is a pain so severe that it cuts deep into your soul.  Your heart literally aches from the hole that is there now.

One.  Step.  At.  A.  Time.

The things that you once barely noticed will become very prominent and significant to you.  Smells, songs, and places will take on new meaning as you try to hang on to your lost child.  At first you might not be ready to experience those things, to hear those songs, or return to the places you once shared, but in time you will seek them out as a point of contact with your child.

Over time the pain will ease and be replaced by a bit of normalcy, but it never completely leaves – and that’s okay.

You will think of your child everyday.

Your child knew how much you loved him or her.  Your tears are the evidence of your love.

God loves you and He can take your anger.  You won’t upset Him or catch Him by surprise with your fist-shaking fit.  Cry out to Him – He’s been where you are.  The life Jesus lived while He was on the earth showed us that God is full of compassion, and He is the only Source powerful enough to give you the strength you will need to take another step.  Accept His grace and love.  Lean completely on Him and let Him carry you.  He will.

Remember when I said we are connected?  You and I belong to the same horrible club.  My wife and I have been where you are – twice.  She and I suffered the deaths of both of our adult children.  Along with you we are surviving parents.

We, like you didn’t choose these circumstances, and we like you would give anything for things to be different.  What I want you to know is that you are not alone.  There are many who have experienced child loss and survived, and although it might not seem possible to you right now please believe that with God’s strength you can make it through this.

Never give up.

God loves you, and so do I – even though we’ve never met.

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