My last few posts have been about sending our firstborn to college. There are many emotions surrounding this experience and I have been bracing myself for them pretty much since I found out of was pregnant all those years ago.
However, within this first week of him being gone, our family has been touched twice in a very personal way.
Two friends of ours have intentionally asked me for his mailing address so they can send a note of encouragement or a care package.
That in itself is very kind and we are grateful for their generosity. But their backstory is what melts my heart.
One friend lost her husband last year about this time. It was an extremely traumatic day as he had taken his own life. And, as God would design it, my firstborn and his sister were first on the scene, by my asking.
The short version of that day is we saw something was very wrong, but I was detained, so I asked my two oldest teens to see what they could do to help. None of us ever, ever imagined what they would walk into.
As my friend was called from work to come, among the myriad of emergency vehicles, etc. she arrived to see my two kids waiting.
In the midst of the many emergency responders, there stood my teens–barefoot in shorts and t-shirts.
They stayed with my friend for over an hour, offering her a hug and shoulder to lean on.
A while later, to my utter amazement, I turned to see my two teens sitting in a tight circle linked together arm-and-arm with my friend and her daughter, praying. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
Afterwards, my son (who had asked them to pray and led the prayer), gently wiped the tears from my friend’s face.
In the weeks and months that followed, they attended his memorial and helped with dogsitting, meals, etc. A friendship between my kids and my friend organically grew out of a situation no one how to handle.
So when I ran into her at the post office this week, and she asked for my son’s address, it deeply touched me because this time she wants to encourage him.
There is a bond between them that formed from brokenness.
We all waded in unfamiliar waters with this tragedy, and none of us acted like we knew what we were doing. My kids’ genuine humility and hurt for this family was a blessing, and now she wants to bless him back as he lives away from home for the first time.
Her thoughtfulness is powerful. Sacrificial. Healing…for everyone.
I didn’t know my friend well before this event. We were casual acquaintances. Now, there is a cord that cannot be broken, a cord that holds broken people together.
Another dear friend of mine also asked me recently for his address. I was overwhelmed and deeply touched when she did. In fact, when I read her Facebook message I burst into tears–not because of how much I miss my boy, but because of how much she misses hers.
Two years ago, six weeks into her youngest son’s freshmen year of college, he died in a tragic accident. Our entire church deeply mourned for this precious family.
My friend is one of the kindest, sweetest people you’ll ever know. She is always giving and doing for others.
I have thought of her often during this new season of school and can only imagine how hard it must be to see another year begin. My heart stays broken for her.
She and her husband have done many wonderful things to honor their son’s life. It’s been amazing to watch them continue his legacy of faith and friendship.
But mother to mother, I don’t know how she does it. By the grace of God she gets up every day and chooses to walk toward the light and not toward the dark (as one friend said).
Every day she chooses life and I stand in awe of her strength.
Knowing what a giving, tenderhearted person she is, this would be the time she would be sending a care package to her own son. From one care-package sender to another, this thought brings me to tears.
The fact that she remembered my son, as she remembers hers, floods my heart with emotions I don’t know how to process. To say I feel blessed is an understatement. To say I am thankful and grateful isn’t enough.
This beautiful soul, who has grieved in a way that only one can who walks the road of losing a child, has chosen to gather her grief in her arms and turn it into a blessing for someone else.
She is a living testimony of God’s love for this world.
Our family is very blessed that we have family and friends who want to encourage our son while he is away at college. Each and every person holds a special place in our hearts.
But for these two women, who have chosen to give out of their grief, pain and loss, I have no words.
These women come from the most broken of places, yet have determined in their hearts to allow God to make something beautiful out of it.
They have no idea that they also help fill a huge hole in this mama’s heart. Both of my parents are deceased and aren’t here to walk this new season of life with our family–to give our son an atta-boy! in his new journey or us a hug as we adapt to his absence at home.
I highly admire and respect these amazing women. Their joy is contagious in a home that misses our guy very much. They are an inspiration.
Our son may be the one who receives the card or package, but it is all of us who are healed a little bit more by their kindness. ❤
Photo credit here