Did YOU notice?
Please do not get upset when others do not seem to care. It is not worth the pain you are causing yourself by getting angry when another family member or a friend is unable to comfort you in the ways you would like. Sometimes the comfort we need can only come from our loving Heavenly Father.
Please know that I understand you are hurting. I understand your pain. I have been there. Really, I understand.
I know what it is like to want to shout in the middle of the store, “How can you go on with life as usual? Don’t you all know my son is dead????” I know the disappointment of having a dear friend not ever say his name or mention that he is gone. Or the pain of someone bringing him up at a time I would rather not talk about it. I know the pain of family members who never contact you after.
But I also know that I did not understand how to help grieving families before we lost our son. Sometimes, I do not even know what I need or want from others now. So I cannot expect others to know what I need or want or how to help us.
But I know that God knows. He knows what we need and He alone is faithful. He alone is always there for us, always able to comfort us , always loving us and always listening to our cries.
Did you notice that family struggling with a child with mental health issues before your child began to deal with depression or addiction? Did you think about the costs – money, time, energy – of dealing with teen with an eating disorder before your son became bulimic? Before your child took her own life, did you notice others who suffered (and survived) the suicide of a loved one?
Did you notice the woman whose mom had breast cancer before your child was diagnosed? Did you think about trips to the nearest big city for yet another doctor’s opinion? The chemo treatments, the PET scans, the CT scans, the MRI’s and the waiting for results? When your friend had a child with cancer, did you think to take meals or offer rides for their other children? Before your child died from cancer, did you reach out to others who had lost a child to cancer?
Did you notice the passing of another anniversary date for that family who buried their son before you buried yours? Before your daughter was in an accident, did you love other families whose child was killed in an accident?
Did you call me on October 12 or January 12 to tell me you cared? When you saw me on April 12, did you mention Andrew or ask how we were doing? On the 9 month or one year anniversary did you call or text or email to tell me you were praying for me?
If you never did these things for others, then why, o why, do you expect others to do them for you? Before you understood, you did not understand. How can you expect others to understand? Why do you get upset when a milestone passes without a word from family or friends. Why are you angry when it seems that no one remembers your child but you?
I know I did not notice those who dealt with a sick parent until I was helping my in-laws. I did not think much about our friends whose daughter is Schizophrenic until one of my own kids dealt with severe depression. I did not notice the passing of anniversaries for those who had lost children. My own sister-in-law and brother-in-law buried their son exactly seven years before we buried Andrew. After the funeral I never sent a card or called. They lived in another state; we were not close. I never checked on them. I was too busy raising my own children. I am sorry for that. I wish I could go back and change that.
I have close friends who buried their children before we lost Andrew. I did ask how they were periodically. I often asked if I could help with their kids and was willing to listen when they wanted to talk about their grief. I drove hours out of my way to spend a weekend with them and show them love. But their struggles were not forefront in my mind; I had my own life to deal with. I did not know how to help or even that they needed help. Thankfully, when we lost Andrew, each of those families went out of their way to come visit us and love us. They called and emailed and prayed. Those who had walked through it knew how to help. And they did help.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matt 7:12 (NIV)
Jesus did not tell us to expect others to do for us what we want them to do. He did not teach that we can expect others to notice us or care about us. He taught that WE ARE TO CARE FOR OTHERS!
If you are suffering, I am sorry. Really, I am. I so wish I could take away your pain. But only God can heal your broken heart.
Sadly, that is what we should expect in this broken and fallen world – suffering and pain and sickness and death. And we can only expect truly good from the Father .
I have friends who say, “expectations are only resentments waiting to happen.” When we place expectations on others, we are setting ourselves up for disappointments which can lead to unforgiveness and bitterness.
For me to get upset or angry because others do not notice Andrew’s birthday or the anniversary of The Accident is only setting myself for problems and disappointment. I cannot expect or demand that others notice my pain. And quite frankly, my pain gets less and less as time goes by, so I would not expect them to treat me the same way they did in the first few months after his death. I cannot expect them to notice passing milestones or remember sweet stories of our son.
I notice. I remember. Ron notices. Ron remembers. His siblings know. His siblings remember. Some of our friends notice. Many of his friends remember.
And most importantly, GOD KNOWS. God notices. GOD REMEMBERS. God cares and God loves you. And God loves your child. That has to be enough. That always has to be enough. Because He is the only One we can truly rely on.
We cannot ever expect others to do for us what only God can do. He is our comfort. He is our fortress. He is our healer. He is our redeemer. He is the one who cares for us. He is faithful and compassionate and merciful and abounding in love.
When something happens and you are feeling anger or hurt, talk to Him. Tell Him about it. Leave your anger at the foot of the cross. It really is the only way to heal without bitterness.
I love you my friend. I pray for you.