Amidst the visitors, chaos, and funeral planning, my husband slipped out of our house through the basement door for brief periods of time that weekend our son died. I desperately needed to do that too. We deeply appreciated the support of our loved ones, but there were periods of time when we just needed space to breathe, quiet to digest the insanity of our son’s death, and privacy to lament.
Seventeen-year-old Joseph’s introverted personality was very much like mine, but he was particularly close to his dad. The two had a strong bond, profound respect, and unwavering love for one another.
Phil had a compelling need to return to the crashed vehicle where our son’s earthly life ended—to see, touch, and smell pieces of his boy. When he arrived at the crash site shortly after the accident, the EMTs prohibited him from looking into the demolished red Plymouth Laser. There was an enormous amount of blood, and they didn’t want Phil becoming any more distressed than he had just become upon learning that his firstborn son was dead. But the only thing that prevented Phil from getting to that car was his respect for the EMT he knew from tae kwon do and the vast amount of shattered glass that separated the two. Did the officials not comprehend how precious the blood of his son was to him? He wanted to see it; he needed to see it.
And so my husband took a breather from our house full of visitors and drove alone to the garage where the wrecking service towed our son’s car. He looked over every smashed-up, tree-dented inch of the barely recognizable caved-in hunk of metal. He ducked into a gaping hole where a window once was and noticed pieces of Joseph’s hair on the ceiling. As tears streamed down his face and neck, he tenderly reached up and rubbed them between his thumb and fingers.
There was a large, dark crimson pool of blood on the driver’s seat and more splattered over the back of the seat. Immersed in the perfect storm of love and grief, the devoted father kissed every drop of blood soaked into the seat. That is extraordinarily beautiful to me and so demonstrative of the immense love my husband has for each of our sons.
Phil considered how precious the Son’s blood is to the Father and became overwhelmed that God willingly sacrificed His own Son. And even in the throes of shock and grief, my husband was overwhelmed with gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ. In that moment, his faith soared to new heights.
(an excerpt from Grief: A Mama’s Unwanted Journey)
That You would use something as agonizing as a child’s death to grow a man’s faith is a gift. Thank you.
Please comfort each grieving daddy. Gift him with sweet memories. Remind him that you forgave him every time he blew it. Grant him moments of peace, joy, and hope every day because of who he is in You. Let him know that he is never, ever alone.
Father, please use each dad’s grief to grow him. Use it to love and encourage others. Use it to make each dad a little more like You.
for the glory of Jesus,