The Bittersweet Closeness

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…”

Over these past couple of weeks grief began to trickle out in my oldest two children.  Faith at 6 years old and David at 4 years old have been handling our loss in deep and mature ways.  Gideon is a household name for us.  We talk about him, think about him, and share memories of him on almost a casual, regular basis.  No one is crying or sad, but we smile in sweet remembrance of his special role in our family.

For example, one day Faith setup for us to have a “Gideon Parade.”  She made banners that said “We love you sweet sweet Gideon” and on we marched singing “We love you Gideon.”  In our driveway, there we went, marching in a circle and singing to our much missed member of our family.  Its hard, but we are doing it.  The kids are doing it, and we as a family are more peaceful now.

Gideon's marker finally came in and we as a family were so excited to be able to go and see it.  We decorated it with blue flowers and blue pinwheel that peacefully blows in the wind.  It reads "Our Sweet Sweet Gideon Matthew Furlough March 31, 2014."  One one side there is a star and on the other a little Teddy Bear.  Its perfect.
Gideon’s marker finally came in and we as a family were so excited to be able to go and see it. We decorated it with blue flowers and blue pinwheel that peacefully blows in the wind. It reads “Our Sweet Sweet Gideon Matthew Furlough March 31, 2014.” On one side there is a star and on the other a little Teddy Bear. Its perfect.


Every once in a while…

Night comes and the sorrow hits hard.

One night I was snuggling the kids to bed when Faith just sat up and started bawling.  It being two and half months ago, I thought that the worst crying might have past.  But for Faith and David the grief seems to only have recently be fully settled in.  Her questions were real and bold “Why did Gideon die, but we don’t?”

“What was wrong with him to make him die?”

“Was he breathing when I held him?”

“Where did he go?

As this mother held her sweet daughter, this deep deep sense of closeness overwhelmed me.  In her crying, her sorrow, her questions I felt closer to her than I ever have before.  My body was telling me to scream!  That this wasn’t fair that my six year old daughter had to experience such pain!  That a mother should never have to watch her child cry over such a penetrating loss!  But my soul…my soul said something different.

My soul prompted me to sink into this with her.  To hold her and comfort her and bring fruit from the pain.  To draw her near, nearer to me than ever before and rejoice that there was closeness available for the brokenhearted.  That no, I could not take the pain away but yes, I could show her that she has a Mommy and Daddy that are there for her always and a God whose peace and comfort are real.

Just one week later my husband and I were sitting on the couch when we heard loud, heavy sobs coming from upstairs.  Faith sweetly came to the balcony and said “Mommy, I think David needs you.”  As I walked into the room there lay my son, David, face red with hot tears and sobbing so loudly that his whole body shook.  Through the crying, he had a lot to tell me.  In his cute little voice that resembles a British accent he said…”

“Mommmmy!  I have three things I want to tell you! One…I really miss Roxy and Gideon right now and I want to see them (Roxy was our Golden Retriever that died a year ago).  Two…I am worried that Faith is going to die…”

After that one he paused.  And I paused to.  What do you give to your son when no answer in life is guaranteed?  My mind is racing as I am literally wondering “Truly what assurance can I give him?”  Then like a download I remember my own nights of deep torment and what got me through.  I help him close and told him all about the God, our God who promises to never leave us or forsake us.  That we have nothing to fear, no worry when we rely on Him everyday…all the time.

Another pause.  He accepted the truth I offered him and it felt like such a peace came over the room.

Then I remembered…”David, what was the third thing?”

“Mommy, I’m worried that if you get pregnant again that something will happen to that baby too.”  That’s when the Mommy tears came.  “My Son!  My sweet, precious David that I love so much.  Mommy thinks about that too!  You are so precious and special to even be able to worry about that, nevermind communicate it.  David you and me together, we are not going to worry about that okay?  We are not going to think about it either.  We are just going together, you and me, trust that we are going to be okay and constantly thank God for the blessing we have in eachother.  Okay?”

“Okay Mommy.”

Have I ever held children tighter than I did that night as I watched them drift off to sleep?

In all of these moments I simply could not help but fall on my knees and thank God for these conversations.  Thank God that they trusted me with the deepest and hardest.  Thank God that I was there.  Thank God that they needed me and that I was able to help them.  Thank God that in those moments we experienced a closeness that no moment before that could compare to.

Then, like a cool breeze it came over me…”Sweet child, that is exactly how I feel about YOU.” 

Nothing has ever been truer to realize.  That the tender closeness I had with my own children, was but a glimmer of a reflection of the way God is there for us when we need Him to be.  Even more than that it was a living breathing reminder of how much he hates it when we cry, but how precious it must be to Him when our choice is not to run away from Him but to run TO Him.  To trust Him with our deepest and hardest.  To fall weightless into His arms with loud sobbing and pour out all of our questions and worries.

Yes, God is close to the brokenhearted.  This brokenheart tells you so.

Psalm 30:5 "...weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5 “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”


(Congratulations to Brittnie at who won the giveaway!  Brittnie I think literally was the very first person to start this True Worth journey with me years ago and she is currently facing a trying season of her own with her oldest daughter.  May the Shades of Peace portrait and the Gideon Strong bracelets be sweet reminders that God’s peace is available to any and all who desire it.  All you need to do is ask for it and believe in Him.  Much love to you Brittnie!)

5 thoughts on “The Bittersweet Closeness

  1. I love this picture you paint of walking with your kids through every step of this unchartered territory. I lost a sibling at a young age, and then again another when I was 13. Grief comes in stages, and questions come for years…thank the LORD, these little cherubs have parents who teach their kids the hope and peace we have when we lean on God’s promises for our strength. I love your heart Maria! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Melissa! What a beautiful woman God has created in you, the sorrow and loss He has brought you from…wow. Thank you for sharing just a glimpse into God’s story in your life. I am so sad that you too have experienced such grief in your life, but so thankful that even in your grief you praise God. Love you sister!

  2. You are such a beautiful mother. Your heart speaks volumes & shines so bright through this post and the words you spoke to your kids as they struggle through their own grief. Learning so much from you, friend. I want to be this kind of mom. 🙂

  3. Maria….wow! because of Gideon, you are teaching me so much more about faith than I ever realized. Your strength and courage to share your families moments is truly a gift to me. So much love I am sending to you all.

    1. This is so Amazing…there are no words…but thank you so much for sharing with us…your faith and love continues to to amaze and inspire me when I am needing it most ❤

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