They Have Walked This Before Me

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I went out to visit Ireland’s grave.  She is buried above my grandpa, who incidently died 8 years ago this month.
                                                                   April 9, 2002

I hadn’t been out to Ireland’s grave since we buried her on that cold January afternoon, and I just needed to go and spend some time with her.  We stopped and got her some pink carnations, and took the back roads out to the cemetary.  It truly is a peaceful, quiet place to rest.  It brings me comfort to know that she is resting with her family.

 When my mom and I finished up our visit, I was looking over the graves of my grandpa, great-grandparents and aunts and uncles cleaning them off a a bit; when I noticed this grave,  it had the names of three of my great-grandma’s children. ( I know the picture is hard to see, sorry).  I got lost in the moment thinking of my great-grandparents standing very close to where we were standing, not once but three different times laying to rest their precious children.  All of them were close to a year old, give or take a couple of months.  I had seen that marker before, but I never realized the heartache that surrounded that stone.I don’t think you can understand that pain until you’ve experienced it. I read a quote that hits the nail on the head;

   “A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But…there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that’s how awful the loss is!” – Neugeboren 1976, 154

 My mom told me that my great-grandpa had chiseled the head stone with his own hands. Three different times.  I appreciate the headstone now, the pain in the chisel marks.  I wonder about the thoughts that were going through his mind while he carved that stone, I bet they were a modern day version of Psalm 31;

 9 “Be Merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief. “
14-16 “But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My Times are in your hands;
deliver me from my enemies
and from those who pursue me. 
 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
21-22 “Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
In my alarm I said.
‘I am cut off from your sight!’
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
Love the Lord, all his saints.”
24 “Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.”
The thing that makes me hopeful about losing Ireland is that I know that this loss is not going to define us, we are able to see that the Hand of God is on our lives now and always.  My great-grandparents survived and continued on living, even after losing three of their babies.  They continued to serve the Lord, to teach their children about him, and waited in hope that they would be reunited with their children again someday.  The same is true for Kevin and I, we are still living, still praising the God who gave us this jouney to walk.  I thank him daily for the blessings in my life, and for the trials because I have realized that the will of God will never take me where the grace of God can not protect me.
Blessings,
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