Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coping With Loss And The Holidays Part II

Today, I'm happy to introduce a guest blogger, my dear friend Betty McCarty, who will share about her son Brian’s death and how God carried her through the grief. This is the second part of a three-part series which ran in 2011. 
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3
I’m a mother of three—my firstborn, Brian, and two daughters, Shanna & Sarah. 
June 10, 2007, was a beautiful Lord’s Day. We had been home about two hours from church services, when one or both of the girls said something about state troopers pulling up on the road next to our house. I looked and saw three Florida Highway Patrol cars and one unmarked police car. I went outside to see why they were there. I knew something wasn’t right. 
One of the officers called out as he walked toward our home, “Are you Brian Gillen’s mother?”
I said, “Yes. Is he ok?” 
The officer shook his head no. I then learned that my 24-year-old son had been killed in a motorcycle/car accident. He was on the motorcycle. A car had pulled out in front of him. They tried to make it sound as if it were his fault because he was going too fast. Some of our family and friends were angry at the girl who’d pulled out in front of him. I have learned you don’t have to “blame” anyone. Sometimes things just happen. 
Soon afterwards, I made a call to a member of the church I attended. I also called friends from the two previous churches where I’d been a member before. I asked them all to pray for us. In the midst of the grief and turmoil, I knew we would need God’s help to get through this. I will never understand people turning their back on God when they need him the most. 
God answered the prayers. I can’t tell you that getting through the grief process has been easy, but I can tell you that God has helped make it more bearable.
Brian was a brother my two daughters looked up to, even more after their father died 4½ years earlier of a massive heart attack. Brian was a father, as well, to my beautiful little granddaughter Elizabeth. She is a gift from God. She is Brian with us. We all miss Brian.
One day I thought – what’s wrong with me? I haven’t cried that much. I’m doing too well. Please understand it is not because I haven’t grieved my son’s death. I have cried and missed him so much. It’s because my God carried us through! 
Sometimes, we tend to miss those we’ve lost more around the holidays. Their loss makes us sad.  My suggestion is this – pray. Prayer is what got me through the endless hours of grief. Also, find someone you can comfort. Helping someone else in need tends to get our minds off our own problems. Seeing Elizabeth at Christmas eases my holiday grief, as well, and my girls help me stay strong.
Remember, tell those you love that you love them every single chance you get. I’m thankful that just two days prior to Brian’s death, I told him I loved him. That memory brings me much comfort.
Have you ever wondered how Mary must have felt when she saw Jesus upon the cross? As a mother who has loved a son and lost him, I can assure you the pain was enormous but so was God’s grace and mercy in comforting her.
 ~Betty McCarty

Are you grieving a loss this Christmas? I’d love to pray for you. Please leave a comment or email me confidential requests. Our prayer list and Sgt. Jesse McCart’s updates are above. The holiday season is a difficult time for folks suffering with grief and chronic illness. Would you take a moment to lift them up in prayer and consider sending a card to Jesse and his wife? Their contact info is on his page, as well.

Emily, the 12-year-old young lady with bone cancer we've been praying for, goes in for a CT scan on her lungs tomorrow at 11:00 and then a left leg bone X-ray at 1:00, to check for bone growth and to ensure she is still tumor free. If the tests are clear, she'll go another three months before rechecking. She is walking with a cane now, so the family is thankful for this! Please lift up this young lady and her family as they go through these tests tomorrow. Thank you. 
© Laura Hodges Poole

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