I think back to how I ended up in China and it took many, many years to get here. Not that I was planning on coming here by any means, but becoming emotionally ready to get here was the challenge. I can’t say that China was really ever a place I wanted to visit, much less live, but the way I ended up here is worth revisiting, especially for bereaved parents who are just beginning their life changing journey of living without their child.
My good friend, Mr. Rucker just recently lost his son, Patrick. I know he is suffering greatly. I have walked in his shoes and still am, it is just that my shoes fit a little better these days and the shoes are not leaving blistering marks on my heels like they used to. Now, don’t get me wrong, there has not been a day go by in the 20 years since my son died that I have not thought about him, but at least the pain is not as heart wrenching as it was for the first 20 years. IT STILL SUCKS!
If you were one of my first readers, then you know how this blog came to be. I started writing about the day my son died, the dreadful 4am phone call, the call no parent ever wants to receive. Since then, it has taken years for me to be able to walk out of those blistering shoes, and become more than just an empty shell going through the motions day in and day out. Parenting is not an easy job, especially that of a bereaved parent. Our kids are not supposed to die before we do. We are not supposed to buy a casket and plan a funeral for them. Sadly, it happens. Life sucks……if you let it. Healing from that is not an easy task.
It took 20 years for me to function as more than an empty shell. I knew I was not living life to its fullest, though I thought I was, but something was always missing. I wondered where God was? Why was my life spinning out of control? Why did MY son die? I wanted him, yet so many people beat and even kill their own children. I never understood that and I guess I never will.
The anxiousness and many other emotions I experienced after my son died were excruciating at times. The anxiety I experienced over just getting on an airplane last summer just about did me in, and that was 20 years later. Unless you have experienced the death of a child you can really never know what we go through and how our life changes. I never was an anxious kind of person, but after my son died, my whole life changed. I was not the person I used to be. I was somebody else. The person I was before my son died would have had no problem getting on that plane and heading to South Africa. But the person I became after my son died could barely breathe walking down the corridor to get on the plane to fly to Memphis. The death of a child can really wreak havoc on your life, as well as those around you. It is the worst thing ever! It can cost you some pretty significant relationships but it can build friendships that are everlasting.
So why am I in China? I really don’t know. But I do know had I not taken time to stop and sit for ten days without distraction in South Africa, I would never have found God again and I would not be here right now. I wondered why it took me going to another continent to find Him. But the reality is I never could sit still long enough to let Him come back into my life. I thought He had abandoned me. He took my son then left me to fend for myself.
Coming to China was a big step out of my comfort zone, and believe me, China is not a comfortable place to live, but I know He has my back and I am not alone like I thought I was for the past 20 years. So does this answer the question, “Why am I here?” I don’t know, I think it says I am here because God wants me to live again. I think He has been chasing me down for the past twenty years saying, “Hey, slow down and let Me in.” I just never could because the truth was much too painful. My son was dead.
So to my friend, Mr. Rucker, I share your pain and I have walked in your shoes (well, maybe not really your shoes because they are so big) but you get the idea. I know your heart is shattered into a million little pieces right now, and for you, I hope you find your China too, someday.
Hugs from China.