“How can you say you are grateful for your son’s death?” This father’s anger and grief over his son’s diagnosis was raw. All he could see and feel as we sat in the living room was the loss, the fear, the unknown, and the dreams that would never be fulfilled. Sadly, he misunderstood me when I said, “I am grateful and thankful for David and all that we have learned from his life and death.” I will never be thankful for Batten Disease and the loss and pain it brought into our lives. It was horrible, painful, and at times unbearable. But I am thankful that as I sit on this side of his death that this wasn’t the end of our lives or the end of David’s legacy. We are still healing and grieving David’s death. The more you love something or someone, the deeper your grief will be.
Thankfully, we now have the opportunity to look back and see the fingerprints of God and the hands and feet of people who helped us as we cared for David and healed after he passed. When we were knee deep in the midst of being David’s caregiver, it was difficult to be thankful. When you feel alone and exhausted, it is hard to see any of the good around you. This is why we preach and stress the importance of respite. It allows you a moment to step away, to breath, and to hopefully discover something that was there all along but you couldn’t see it through the haze of your exhaustion and busy life. These are the things things we can give thanks for, even in the midst of feeding tubes, IEPs, sleepless nights, bathing, tears, and aids that don’t show up.
So once again I say, “I am grateful for David and all that we have learned from his life and death.” If it wasn’t for David there would be no David’s Refuge Story. I can’t imagine my life without this amazing organization. It allows us to tell David’s story, to breath life into moms and dads, to offer resources and support to hundreds of families, and share God’s incredible love in a very practical way. I am grateful! What are you grateful for today?