It was the dead of night and I was jarred awake by sudden screams from my Jessie-Girl. I jumped out of bed, startled and concerned, and ran to my lady’s bedside.
“I love Juddy so much!” she cried, “But I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die! I want to live forever.”
The substance of her dream hit me like a punch in the gut.
I stroked her back without saying a word.
Her inconsolable cries continued as she writhed in bed, “I want to live a really long time. I don’t want to die. I don’t like death.”
“Oh Jessie…” I didn’t know what to say as I kissed her face over and over while trying to hold her.
My mind was racing. These concerns are much too heavy for such a little heart, I thought to myself. I don’t want her worrying about death at this age. This burden is too great for her developing soul.
I felt powerless. I felt so powerless as worries of death poured out of my little girl. How do I relieve this load of fear that had clearly been growing alongside Jessie’s growing awareness over the loss of her brother?
I also felt responsible. I felt somehow responsible that the way we have handled Judson’s death has in some way triggered these fears. Have we been too open with Jessie? Should we have approached our loss differently?
But as my mind flooded with questions and concerns, I began to consider how natural these feelings are for all parents, no matter the substance of one’s journey. We feel powerless when our children hurt. We fear responsibility when we see their struggles connect back to our parenting.
But there is grace. I felt like God was saying, You have done the best you can with what you have been given, Christina, and that is all I ask of you. Grace.
I desperately need God’s grace as I endeavor to care for this precious little child entrusted to my care…and the greatest thing she needs is God’s grace too.
I began to whisper, “Even though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we don’t need to fear any evil, Jessie. For God is with us. His rod and staff, they will comfort us (Psalm 23)… And all the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139). He has a plan for each of us, Jessie.” I took a deep sigh wanting the truth of my words to settle in my own heart.
I gave my ladybug more kisses and softly reminded her, “You are precious to me, Jessie-Girl, and you are precious to God.”
And it was as though God was simultaneously reminding me, You are precious to me, Christina. And my grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12).
Both Jessie’s heart and mine began to calm.