Have you ever lost someone; either they moved away or passed away in an unexpected and tragic death?
How about your children? In the business of life you missed them as they grew. It is a loss, a deep and abiding loss that you can never recover.
You wake up, they are no longer at home. They move away to college, they get married and move away. Distance becomes a barrier, but if we have isolated from them when they were growing up, there is an invisible barrier that seems insurmountable. You feel like they don’t know you and you feel that you really don’t know who they are because you missed so much of their life.
It is an horrible, sick feeling that eats away at you. The thoughts and feelings, the sadness fades a bit, but they never go away and do resurface from time to time.
I have known loss, life is birth and life is loss. I have lost friends who moved away, relationships that faded into the dark of night; awaking in the morning they were nowhere in sight.
The words you see below were written when I was thinking about my daughters. I’ve lost friends, my marriage dissolved, but none hold the lingering pain in my heart like missing my daughters as they grew up. It has been a lot of years, but the feelings are still there.
The loss lingers, and in many cases it may dim. But then something catches your eye, a song is heard or a favourite word; you hear a child’s laughter and you may think to yourself:
If I could do it all over again,
I’d take from you whatever came my way;
If I could do it all over again,
I’d spend every minute of every day,
Memorizing your smiles, your faces,
Your every little way.
Life is precious and life is made up of relationships. That is what makes this journey enjoyable. Oh yes, we have dreams and aspirations, but these are an end product in your journey. No one wants to attain their goals and successes and find there is no one with whom to share these.
I think the most painful moments in my life have been in seeing young mothers with their tiny infants, watching them walking through the park, the child crying or laughing, and wistfully wishing that I could go back to those days. They seem a blur as if I wasn’t there for certain precious moments. Busy with life, running a household, work and trying to keep a marriage together – I lost sight of the most precious gifts that YHWH had bestowed upon me, but for a season.
I do not think that I will ever stop thinking these thoughts; wishing I could start all over again. That’s life, though. I see young mothers with their children; getting angry at the crying, and wish I could step in. I see young mothers who are hooked on drugs or alcohol, oblivious to their young children. I see those young mothers missing out on life, and I see me in them.
The next time you get upset or angry with someone, perhaps silently wish they’d go away, think twice before doing or saying anything like that, because one day you too will be whispering these words, “If I could do it all over again.”
Do not let your life come to the point, especially where your children are concerned, that you will be reliving thoughts like this.
Remember that our children aren’t our children. We don’t own them. YHWH has loaned them to us, trusted their tiny lives to our care, but for a season.
It is a responsibility greater than any other you will ever have. Once their season with us is over, they will continue on their journey. Don’t be left behind because you couldn’t find the time – to be with them, to love them, to know them.
In the last three years I’ve lost two brothers to suicide. It is a terrible loss and painful. But that pain seems as nothing when I think about my daughters. I lost them growing up – but they lost me.
Our only real duty in the responsibility of being a parent is to love our children unconditionally. If time, work, or anything else dictates how and when we will love our children, then it is not unconditional love. We have put a price on it, and we will pay that price.