A child who has lost his or her parents is called an orphan. A woman who has lost her husband is called a widow. And a man who lost his wife is called a widower.
Unfortunately, there’s no word for a parent who has lost his child… but there should be! On the scale of grief and loss, the pain of losing a child must be the most excruciating pain the human heart can endure.
In my last episode of UNBEATABLE, I introduced you to a man who endured the loss of a son many years ago. Dr. Billy Buck is a successful oral and maxillofacial surgeon who followed in his father’s footsteps. -a devout man, committed husband, and a loving father.
He passed on his love for water sports to his kids… especially to his oldest son, Billy. By most measures, his family had it all. But one morning, when Billy went into his son’s room to wake him, life turned dark for him and his family.
Facing grief and defeating fear
All of us go through periods of despair, loss, and grief at points in our lives. The loss of a loved one can bring on these unwanted emotions when you least expect it. I don’t know of any situation in life that is worse for a human to endure than the passing of a child. It creates a scar on your hearts that will never disappear. Every time you hear the phrase, “I heard about your son”, it rips the scab off your raw heart.
I’ve personally watched many parents go through the loss of a son or daughter in combat. No one expects it to happen to them, but the parents of warriors know in the back of their mind that it’s a possibility… though it doesn’t really makes the loss easier to handle.
However, there’s no way to prepare your heart for the occasion when a parent loses a young child unexpectedly.That’s what is most fascinating to me about my recent interview with Billy. He described an emotion that I’ve never heard parents or a spouse use when talking about the death of a warrior. Billy described this feeling as FEAR. To him and many other parents that have endured this incredible loss, it’s just like facing intense fear.
Make the Choice
God forbid that you will ever have to go through the brutal emotional pain of losing a child. But if that day comes, you can endure it. You can face this loss just like you would stare down any fear… by standing strong in the middle of the emotions rather than running away to pills or a bottle!
Everyone must make a conscious choice when facing loss. Are you going to let this devastating event break you, or will you choose to face it head on? This decision determines if you, like Dr. Billy Buck, will also be UNBEATABLE!
Turning your pain into others’ gain
I would never be so foolish as to claim that a loss like this can turn into good in the long run. This is the kind of dark cloud with no silver lining. However, maybe others can benefit from what you’ve gone through. What good could possibly come out of something as devastating as losing a child? Nothing! But Billy demonstrated how he used this event to help other people who are going through similar loss. I call this “turning your pain into others’ gain”.
My challenge for you as you listen to Billy’s story is to live with the end in sight. All of us will lose somebody close to us… sometimes much sooner than we expect. The pain of losing a loved one can’t be softened. However, the pain is worse when things were left undone in your relationship.
Parents, tell your children how much you love them every day. Lovers, let each other know how much you mean to one another today. Friends, tell each other how much you value the relationship while you can.
Don’t wait for tomorrow to say what’s in your heart… because you may never get the chance to say it. No words can prevent the death of a loved one, but you don’t have to mourn missing the chance to say, “I love you”. Treat your relationships today like it’s the last day you’ll ever see each other. By doing this, you will be able to face whatever tomorrow brings without regret.