Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
by Kathleen Y’Barbo
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
February 22, 2019 was a normal Friday. Just another day at the office. Another day of finishing my daily tasks at the law office and planning a weekend of catching up on a book deadline. Nothing memorable. Nothing outstanding. Just normal.
Then came the call. The call that no parent ever wants to receive. And nothing would ever be normal again.
My son, at the age of thirty-five, had died of natural causes from an illness he did not know he had. Andrew was brilliant. And funny. He loved to talk practically since birth about anything and everything, and he always laughed at his own punch lines.
Oh, but above all, he was so very much loved.
And I miss him terribly.
My friends still ask if I am okay. If the loss of my son has made the day especially hard. Or if today is a good day.
And I love that my friends check on me. They are truly a godsend.
Yes, I am okay. And yes, the loss of my son makes every day hard.
But you know what? It would be so easy to fall into that gaping hole that Andrew’s death caused and never come back out. I refuse to do that. I refuse to allow that to be my son’s legacy.
Instead, for as long as God leaves me here on this earth, I will live each day to its fullest in his honor. I won’t waste the precious time I have here. I will love the family still with me and never forget the one who has gone on ahead. I will have hard conversations and speak truth when a situation calls for it. I will seek to reconcile, not divide. And I will love to the best of my abilities. But most of all, I will hold on to my faith in Jesus and trust Him even when I don’t understand.
It is a hard truth that we don’t know how strong our faith is until our faith is tested. Oh, but God is so very good, even when His choices are confusing and hurt.
One lesson I have learned is that life is so very short, and nothing should be taken for granted. I ask this question to people all the time now. Is there a conversation you need to have with someone? A reconciliation that needs to take place?
The last gift I bought my son was a headstone. But we were good. We talked a lot and laughed a lot. We didn’t always agree, but what we had was unconditional. He knew while he was here that he was very much loved and accepted.
The rest of my family knows this, too. They know they are loved unconditionally and without measure. And just in case they forget, I remind them. A lot.
Is there someone in your life who needs know that? Is there a conversation you need to have with someone? A reconciliation that needs to happen? Have that conversation. Be the cause of that reconciliation. Help someone else be okay.
Poems, flowers and speeches at a graveside are how we remember those recently lost to us. But as time fades those memories and dries the tears, the best way to continue to honor those who are no longer with us is to make the world better in their honor.
Learn from your loss. Let that ache you feel move you to be the cure for someone else’s pain. Be the hands and feet of Jesus in a world full of people who are mourning, who are hurting, who are lonely…who need Jesus.
But most of all, let that loss mean something. I will never see Andrew again this side of heaven, but I am committed to making this world a better place until I am called to join him.
That is my new normal. I think Andrew would approve.
Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.
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