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Sometimes there is No Other Way

This past summer was mostly good. The day of the external school exam results in August was both happy and sad. Our son did fantastically well but I was also acutely aware that Leah wasn’t here to get any exam results. I went to the school with our son to get his exam results and I congratulated Leah’s friends on their excellent results. I was very grateful to the one parent at the school who acknowledged my grief and loss with a hug, in the midst of celebrating her son’s amazing results.

While our son posed for a photo for the local papers with others who had received excellent results, I sat in the car in a quiet corner of the school car park sobbing. By the time he texted looking for me to come and collect him, I had regained my composure. Results day needed to be about his success, not about my sadness.

Last week Prize Day took place in both the school that Leah attended and the school that our son now attends. We attended our son’s prize giving event as proud parents. However I hadn’t really thought about the possibility that some of Leah’s peers would also be there receiving their prizes before departing for university. One of these was the very girl who started Nursery School alongside Leah many years ago – they walked through the door of the Nursery class together that first morning. So much has changed since then. This triggered more difficult emotions for me, which I sought to contain.

I try hard to live in the present, to count my blessings, to be grateful for what I have, to focus my thoughts on the good things in my life and the people that I love, but despite all of this, grief and loss at times becomes overwhelming. Sometimes no matter how hard I pray and look to God for the strength to go on, no matter how much I read my Bible or how many Bible teaching podcasts I listen to, the sadness just doesn’t go away and those tears have to be shed – there is no other way.

I recently came across a quote by Barbara Johnson, whose books have really blessed me. Barbara experienced much heartache in her own life which included burying two of her sons. Her words really resonated with me:

“Sometimes allowing yourself to cry is the scariest thing you’ll ever do. And the bravest. It takes a lot of courage to face the facts, stare loss in the face, bare your heart, and let it bleed. But it is the only way to cleanse your wounds and prepare them for healing. God will take care of the rest.” – Barbara Johnson

Vicky Whyte

Vicky lives in Northern Ireland with her husband and two younger children. All she ever wanted in life was to get married, have kids, serve Jesus and love other people. Just quietly and without too much excitement. Her favorite spare time activities are catching up with friends or getting lost in a good book. Then, in 2013, family life changed forever. Leah, the second eldest of their four children, was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation and went through a bone marrow transplant. Nine months after her initial diagnosis, Leah developed a rare side effect of her treatment and died shortly after her 16th birthday. Devastated and heartbroken by her daughter's death, Vicky has found that blogging helps her to trace the rainbows through the rain and see God's hand in everything.

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