My oldest daughter, Sarah, is in Japan this summer embarking on an adventure with her boyfriend, which could become a forever thing. She moved back “home” when Emma died, slipping into the basement apartment just as my youngest son, Ben, was moving out to live with his then girlfriend, now wife, Alex. In a very real way, we have never been “empty-nesters” until now. Although this may be temporary, it has caused me to reflect on the differences between losing a child to death and losing a child to life.
I lost a part of Emma to death, but so too have I lost a piece of each of my children to life. It is the way of the world. It’s painful in some ways, but in most ways it’s as it should be, and that makes it right. I will never think that Emma’s death was good – my husband still firmly believes that God made a BIG mistake. No healthy, happy, vivacious 19-year-old simply dies in her sleep. But I’ve come to accept that it was the unique way she left the nest. I’ve come to believe she lives on, taking our teachings and guidance and making them her own, on her own. [Read more…]