Losing a child is something one never really gets over. When a child is brought into your home, whether is it biologically, through adoption or foster care, it is a full-time 24/7 job. The ultimate goal is trying to make that child turn into the best parts of you. Your hope is that, as they develop, they can bypass some of the mistakes that you made along the way so as not to stumble as much and get quite as many bruises. Unfortunately, many children are resistant to listen and do not appreciate unasked for advice!
It is hard to stand back and watch them fall but life has taught most parents that loving is also letting go. Sure, when they are little, parents can jump right in with both feet. But as they age, more restraint must be used to hold back with intervening. This is one of the hardest parts of parenting and it causes more alienation in relationships than just about anything. Watching children fail is not only hard but hurtful, especially if a parent thinks they could have helped prevent it. But each individual has a right to learn to make those choices, right or wrong, on their own. Those lessons, the hard knock kind, may stick with them the longest.
Being a grandparent is another phase of development for many adults. This is the time in life to let go of the worrisome parts of being a parent and embrace simply the child. The only requirement, so to speak, is loving a child for who they are, where they are and not having to try to contain them much. It is a joyful time as the responsibilities fall to everyone else in their life but the grandparents. It is kind of like being a Disneyland parent in a divorce! Discipline is only needed if they are a threat to themselves or someone else. Other than that, simply stand back and enjoy the life before you in those eyes.
In my husband’s case, he has lost his son prematurely, when his son was only in his thirties. I, for the longest time, had no idea how painful this was, losing your only child ashis son was my stepson. I had gotten to know my stepson as he was an adult. As time has gone by, the pain has become more apparent to me, what it feels like to lose a child that has been an integral part of your life. But seeing that tear in his eye, that comes up without any warning, has been hard. Not knowing how to help him deal with the pain has been particularly difficult for me. But I have seen him learn how to move beyond the pain and once again, embrace his life.
One of the best healers of his pain of the loss of his son was his grandson. Not long after losing his son, my husband lost the ability to see another grandson he cared deeply about also. That served as a secondary blow that set him back one more time just like the death of his son. Very few realized the impact it had on him but it was similar to another death in his life. He loved that child like his own son. But as loving as God is, he provides.
Our other grandson Jake, who lives in the same town we do, Nashville, all the sudden started drawing incredibly close to his grandpa Jim. It was almost spontaneous that this started to occur, with the loss of one grandson in his life the other one stepped right up to the plate and became extremely attached to him.
Jim is so far from Michigan, where his son lived, that he seldom gets to see or hear from his son’s children who both live there. So here comes Jake, with a personality larger than life and the uncanny ability to brighten up even the sourest adult in a room. And yet, he is not as embraceable as some children, preferring to be his own little man, all at the age of 4! Yet, when it comes to his Grandpa Jim, he wants to be held, embraced and yes even loved on. Only God knows what lies ahead for Jake but it is bound to be something everyone will be talking about, in a positive light!And oh, something he will want his Grandpa to be proud of!
Jim and Jake have been developing a special kind of bond, the kind of bond you hear about in a song. Their admiration of each other, for different reasons, is beautiful to see. No one can replace Jim’s lost son nor the grandchildren he doesn’t get to see but his grandson Jake is helping fill a void. There is a light in Jim’s eye, a loss of that tear these days and a lift in his step. Most of this is due to his grandson Jake. God has found a to bring into his life a blessed little boy who gives unconditionally to his grandpa. And in return these isn’t much Jim wouldn’t do for his grandson.
I am always amazed when I see God’s plan rolling out so perfectly. Standing graveside at Jim’s son burial, it didn’t seem that way. Other issues that have arose over the past year certainly didn’t leave either of us feeling blessed either. But we both do believe in the power of prayer. Also, sacrifice pays off in the end.
My husband’s prayer and sacrifices he has made all his life is being rewarded by a little boy named Jake, a gift from God. Someone who expects nothing out of Jim but to be near him and his attention from time to time all wrapped in a little boy! It is something that was amiss in Jim also, a piece of his heart.
With that in mind, I made a video that is a reminder of the joy one child can bring to a parent that has lost their child, to a grandparent who don’t see their grandkids and anyone else who is just hurting due to a miscarriage or some other tragedy. May Jake’s smile and his bond with his Grandpa Jim lighten your load and make it clearly visible that God does send signs you are loved! It just takes believing in a power greater than you. Click for Video of Grandpa Jim & Jake