I am trying to imagine what it would be like to be one of those grieving parents from Newtown. If I just lost my child in these horrific circumstances, how could I best be comforted? I realize that nothing I say here, so detached from the events, holds any water. I’m sure I might have a different answer if I were actually living through the hell that they are. So I apologize in advance for anything that I say that might not be helpful.
However, as I place myself in their shoes, here’s what brings me the most comfort. As the vivid scenes of my child’s last minutes race through my mind, I would want to know that they are comforted now. The best thing that you could say to me would be to remind me that my child is experiencing more joy, peace, and comfort than they have ever known. The best balm would be to tell me about Heaven.
I know that “telling me about Heaven” is not acknowledging my grief—and it could sound like you’re trivializing my pain. But in the deepest sense of what it means to be a parent, you’re actually providing what I need the most. The deepest desire of every parent is to care for and protect their children. Way before I get counseling or understanding for my grief, I would want to make sure that my children are okay. In fact, as all parents know, you regularly put your own needs aside in order to make sure that your kids are cared for.
That’s why I think I would just want to know about Heaven. Tell me my kids are safe now. Tell me that their heavenly Father is now embracing them, wiping away their tears, and healing their wounds. Tell me that one day, we will be together again in Heaven, where we’ll always be together, where nothing will be able to tear us apart again. In these moments, I don’t need cheap comfort; I need strong doctrine.
Don’t tell me that God needed another angel; don’t tell me that God will give me enough grace to get through this; don’t tell me that God had a reason. Just tell me that my children are safe in Heaven, beyond the reaches of evil. Then just be quiet.