Experiencing Loss

Have I ever told you about my friend Madeline*? She was 80 this year and said she doesn’t like to think about being that old. I told her, it’s a good thing. I’ve known her for years. She knew my family before I was born. She helped me through a very difficult time in my life.
Madeline came to mind as I watched the programs covering the anniversary of 9-11 and the losses experienced. I have friends who have lost a child. I have friends who have lost a spouse. My son lost his best friend in a car accident. The loss of someone we love is nearly impossible to shake.
Madeline lost both of her children.
So they sat down with him (Job) on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.  Job 2:13 (NKJV) (parenthesis mine)
Although I was young when it happened, I clearly remember when her son died.  This is how I remember the tragedy. The news spread through the countryside like wildfire, as they say. He’d been swimming in a river, at a state park, with friends. He dove in and an undercurrent pulled him down and he drowned. I think he was 18.
Several years later, Madeline’s daughter (who had three young children) was diagnosed with cancer and could not win the battle. She died too.
Two children born and loved—and then they were gone. I can’t imagine anything worse.
Madeline is one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. I’ve never heard her blame the river or the cancer or God. I’ve never heard her say that she should give up. I’ve heard her talk about the blessings of her life.
His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  Job 2:9-10 (NIV)

It’s easy to blame and understandable, but peace and blame cannot coexist. Blaming has nothing to do with healing and blame can lead to bitterness. It muddles the mind and interferes with the peace in our soul.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ( said Jesus) John 16:33 (NIV)
 In my own heartbreaks, my faith in God and his ability to help me overcome terrible times has kept me alive…literally. Madeline says the same thing.

*Name changed to protect my innocence.
Resources: Holy Bible and Bible Gateway


  1. Oh my goodness what an absolutely beautiful post this was! Your story of Madeline brought to mind a friend of mine from high school, the only child of older parents who doted on him. He was named after his dad. We lived in a small town in the Midwest and lots of boys drank then got in car wrecks. That's what happened to this boy, and he died. It was such a tragedy, his parents were devastated.

    Your dear friend Madeline sounds like such a wonderful person. And I'm impressed that she enjoys life and isn't moaning about wanting to die so she can see her loved ones again. I've known older people who do that, and basically waste the last 20 years of their lives just sitting around waiting to die.

  2. Beautifully written and so very true.

  3. I like your thoughts on blame. It eats you up and makes life even harder.

    Faith in God is what keeps me going through anything.

  4. Losing both children would difficult - faith would be the only way to cope.

  5. A truly lovely post. Thank you for this.

  6. Beautifully written post! Thanks for sharing, so many need to read this.

  7. That is just so sad. I can't imagine having a child die before you, not to mention both. But she sounds like a strong woman, 80 years strong.

  8. Very moving post and inspiring. Sometimes we forget and want to accept only good things. Madeline sounds like a wonderful and strong woman.

    Thoughts in Progress
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  9. Madeline must be a very strong woman to have experienced such loss and still focus on her blessings. Very inspiring.

  10. Hi Theresa .. Madeleine sounds a wonder of support - her experiences must have helped many .. so very sad - but trust in what was meant to be is meant to be is truly something to behold .. Very inspiring story .. thanks for sharing with us - Hilary

  11. Thanks for this wonderful post. I was badly in need of this.....

  12. This is a very moving post and I love reading the book of Job. I have always marveled at his devotion and absolutely love God's comeback when they had their conversation.


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