April 29th, 1997, was a warm spring day that brought sunshine and hope for warmer days to come. How could I have ever imagined I would have to say, “Goodbye for now,” to our dear sweet Benjamin, our baby son who was just 6 1/2 weeks old and was taken from us in a horrific auto accident in which I was the driver and our two eldest children survived?
My husband Dan was my knight in shining armor on that day, my family and friends deeply ministered to me, and my God and my Savior were my breath and my HOPE. Jesus, my very best friend, re-stored my sanity, which I had lost for what felt like an eternity, but in reality, was just a few hours of time. You may think it odd that I included the 1/2 when mentioning his age. Does it really matter? Oh, yes it does! The truth is that every day, every hour, every minute that we spent with our Ben counts from now, until we’ll meet him again one day in that place we call Heaven.
Bereavement is a life long journey. We’ll never forget those whom we knew, loved and bonded with. The loss of a child is, no doubt, one of the most complicated grief journeys to navigate through. No! Strike that—to struggle through. The struggle in the loss of a child, and for any loss of a loved one for that matter, centers around what I believe to be this one word that will determine whether we will em-brace the very precious gifts God has given us to survive, in whatever circumstances we’ll encounter, on this side of eternity. Acceptance.
In the 23 years that we have been on this journey of accepting the loss of our dear sweet Ben, my hubby, Dan and I have found what it means to be surrounded with the peace that passes all understand-ing (Philippians 4:7,) the God of all comfort, which comforts us in all of our affliction so that we will be able to comfort others who are in any affliction (II Corinthians 1:3-4). We’ve also learned to train our minds to steer away from the trauma of that day, to instead see, to truly see, through our Father’s eyes—all that He wants us to behold, which is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8-9). Yes, even when experiencing a traumatic loss.
If you’re not familiar with these verses from the Bible, then dive into their depth and beauty. Write them on your heart and use them as weapons against the enemy of God, who seeks to rob you from your JOY. Make no mistake that this enemy is on the warpath to steal your JOY from your past, present, and future. His greatest desire is to render you useless in your number of years, months, and days left on this earth. He wants to prevent, destroy, alter and/or distance your relationship with your Heavenly Father. If he’s successful, he dances in victory. He wins! May it never be!
If I can leave you with any words, thoughts or deeds, on this very day in this moment of time, as I’m sharing my inward thoughts, it is to grieve well! Do not die inwardly which will affect your very being. Emotions can make us ill and they can drive us to become distant. It’s no surprise that one can actually die from a broken heart. Whether it’s from giving up on maintaining your body and shrinking away to nothing (your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit), or from giving into that desire to just end your life (trust me, I can empathize here), you can live to survive but miss out on living! I believe with great certainty that living without the JOY that comes from Jesus is missing out on living! Please grieve well. Fight for your JOY! JOY in your past, present, and future! JOY from the past… Are you choosing to see it as God sees it?
~ Pam Waterman
Mother of Benjamin Waterman (3/6/97 – 4/29/97)
You are amazing God! You rule over all of the Earth and nothing goes unnoticed by You. Nothing! You are omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. We are so very thankful for these truths.
On the day that we lost our Ben, and on the day that all those who may have suffered the loss of a child or a loved one—we know that is a day of remembrance for a lifetime for all of us. These loved ones are not forgotten! Indeed, every soul, whether they breathed on this earth or only in the womb of their mother, is ordained, sanctified and intimately known by You.
We ask for Your divine gifts that will allow us to carry on in our bereavement journey. We ask that You will help us to come to the very place of acceptance that will allow us to be free from the sorrow of separation from our loved ones.
We thank You for the HOPE that we will be able to reunite or be-come unified for the first time with these dear loved ones. We are delighted in the HOPE that they are in Heaven waiting for us. Who would want to miss this glorious reunion? My prayer is that no one would! My prayer is that every and any grieving soul on this Earth comes to know You and Your forgiveness through Your Son, Jesus!
While we await our time to join these loved ones in Heaven, give us Your amazing peace, comfort, and the strength promised to us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” Help us to JOYFULLY count every moment, every breath we are given, as Your gifts to us. May we shine the light of Your beauty and Your grace to the world around us. May we never hold our emotion(s) in, but may we talk and let others talk to us—even if it brings tears.
Remind us of Psalm 56:8 which says, “You have taken account of my wandering; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” May we truly understand that our tears from our wanderings are collected in Your bottle and put in Your book. What book is that? Oh, dear Jesus, may we come to know and come to find out that this book is Your Book of Life and may we have great JOY in knowing this truth!
May we never miss an opportunity to smile and to bring a smile to another soul in our corner of the world. May Your enemy be defeated in his attempts to rob us of our JOY—past, present and future. Give us eyes to see that our past has taught us how to have complete trust in You, our present is filled with opportunities to do good, and our future is awaiting blessings to behold. Though there will be trials and tribulations that we must overcome, let us know down deep in our hearts that we are never alone. You will carry us when the bur-dens are too heavy to endure. Your strength is just what we need to grieve and to grieve well!
Thank you, dear Jesus, and forever remain in our steadfast hearts and minds.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.