I still can't quite wrap my head around the events of the past week or so. I'm still in shock that Sarah and Clint had to say hello and goodbye and bury their only child. I do not understand the whys. I never will. But I am comforted to know that my God is strong enough to handle my questions, my anger, my brokenness, my tears for my precious sister. My God does not look on this whole situation from afar. He hurts with us and He knows we can't see the whole picture. Those things are what gives me comfort as I look at Sarah and Clint's tear-stained faces.
I have had a million thoughts go through my head since Sunday, September 4, when Sarah and Clint found out that Tate was gone. People keep asking me what they can do. People want to fix this. People want to do or say something to ease the pain. You can't. There is not one thing that will ease this pain or fix this for Sarah and Clint. However, there are some things you can NOT do that will help them as they navigate this road they have to walk down.
1. Do NOT tell them that God or Heaven needed another angel. First of all, this "sentiment" does not comfort people left behind to live without their child. Second of all, when an adult, a child, a baby or anyone dies, they do not become an angel-read the Bible please and quit spreading false doctrine to try to comfort someone-it does NOT.
2. Do NOT tell them that life goes on. They are painfully aware of that. Saying this implies that they need to get over everything and go on like nothing ever happened. This is by far the rudest thing to say to someone in the midst of their grief and it is extremely unhelpful.
3. Do NOT tell them that everything happens for a reason. Do you know the reason that horrible things like this happen? Sin entered the world long ago and because of this life is hard and horrible, unbearable things happen.
4. Do NOT tell them that they will have another child one day. That is irrelevant. No matter how many children they ever have, they will always be missing Tate. Just like with us, Everley brings us a joy we never thought we could have but she does not replace Jonah or Harper or negate anything that happened. Her presence does not make me forget their absence.
4. Do NOT say or think that you will give them time before you come around or get in touch and then not follow through for several weeks or months or ever. Trust me when I say that they will forever remember who hung around and walked with them through their grief.
And last of all (for now), please know that there isn't an end to the grief or path they are walking. The only end is when Sarah and Clint are reunited with Tate one day in Heaven. Until then, their lives will forever look different, they will forever be hurting and broken. The only things that need to be said to them are that you are so sorry, you love them and you are praying for them. Anything else really isn't helpful. Words are inadequate when the child you were getting ready to bring home is buried in a cemetery...beside his two baby cousins who never got to come home either. I mean seriously.
The thoughts, prayers, food, cards and flowers that have been sent to Sarah and Clint have been greatly appreciated. Please continue to stand in the gap for them by praying for them in the days, weeks, months and even years to come.