DWITS #16 – Chapter 13, God Alone Numbers Our Days
This week’s chapter excerpt from, Death Where is Thy Sting: Recovery from the Loss of Our Loved Ones and Preparation for Our Own Final Days. Reflective, transparent writing is emotionally draining and challenging.
(Chapter begins in book.)
I have come to terms with it all, yet my regrets still nag me, my doubts still plague me. Was I a good enough mother? Did I do everything I could have and should have? What if I had done some things different? I constantly replay different scenarios in my mind — reviewing the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly choices I made in parenting Destiny. With her Reactive Attachment Disorder label — and other academic, emotional, and social delays — parenting her was a challenge every day! God has given me peace that I did the best I could, despite her sins and mine.
On her bad days, Destiny was often angry and bitter, which tainted every aspect of our family’s life with her. On her good days, she had the light of Christ glowing from deep within her, which expressed itself as joy in everything she undertook. I miss her singing hymns she knew by heart on her best days — they were indeed great days to remember her by.
We lived a yo-yo life as her second family, and we never knew which way the pendulum would swing when we got up in the morning. Though I was a seasoned parent, every day I flew by the seat of my pants, working extremely hard to patiently show intentional loving kindness instead of easier default frustration and anger. It was a daily challenge for me to have confidence and peace, so self-doubt and distrust ruled my relationship with her. Did I fail her? Despite my best intentions, maybe I did. I will carry that guilty baggage the rest of my life until I see her again in Heaven. By then, there will be no more tears or sorrow for me, either. And for now? I must choose to not beat myself up over my human failings. I have other children to finish raising for whom I need to be mindful as my current priority. They need a Mom who is gentle, joyful, kind, loving, even fun-loving. And so, that is what I strive to be now for their benefit, as well as mine.
Without desiring so, I have become a member in an infamous club for parents with murdered children alongside other guilt-ridden dads and moms. We each live with remorse over our respective child’s life-altering mistakes which proved true our own worst parental fears.
God has indeed given free will to each human, whether adult or child. All of us make choices every day that have small and large consequences — some positive, some negative. Parents tend to second-guess themselves frequently, especially with current trends of negative culture stereotypes regarding what previously would have been considered high-quality, purposeful childrearing.
Often, I read about or even overhear young adults criticizing their parents for this or that in their upbringing. The wisdom these young people might gain in another twenty years when they start raising their own children will likely prove to them their own mom and dad were pretty good parents after all. As with many things in life, we can only do our best and time will tell if our choices were good … or could have been better.