January 22, 2020
I wonder what sport she would be playing and how she would like middle school. Would she still capture everyone’s heart the minute she met them? Would she still love to laugh and be super silly?
What would she be like? What would she be doing?
Our family’s “what if” thoughts started five years ago — Belle Mitchell (2007–2015) — but we are not alone. We have friends who have been working through decades and decades of similar questions following the loss of a child.
Where would he have gone to college?
What would she have chosen as her career?
What would he look like?
What would her interests be?
The memories of the time they were with us will always be a precious gift but sometimes it’s hard to let their story end where it did.
Making sense of the fact that our stories continued moving forward and theirs didn’t — at least not on earth — leaves us with a specific segmented story of our own, before and after.
And while grief captures everyone who has experienced loss, we know those who know Christ do not grieve as those with no hope (1 Thess. 4:13).
Still, grief is a real part of our journey, and we all will walk the path at some point in some form — some more often than others and some in more tragic ways.
When it comes to the loss of a child, the devastastion mounts at a level truly unbearable.
Countless parents across the globe and through the ages have confessed that only because of their relationship with Christ were they able to survive.
Many will lash out and blame God in their grief, but we can’t hold God to something He never promised. We can, however, hold tightly to Him.
Grammy Award-winning artist and Christian rapper TobyMac lays it out with a rawness that can only come from one who has experienced it in his recent release “21 Years.”
“Are you singin’ with the angels?/ Are you happy where you are?/ Well, until this show is over/ And you run into my arms/ God has you in Heaven/ But I have you in my heart.”
In a statement Jan. 9 following the Oct. 23 unexpected death of his 21-year-old son, TobyMac said, “‘21 Years’ is a song I wrote about my firstborn son, Truett Foster McKeehan. I loved him with all my heart. Until something in life hits you this hard, you never know how you will handle it.
“I am thankful I have been surrounded by love, starting with God’s and extending to community near and far. …
“Writing this song felt like an honest confession of the questions, pain, anger, doubt, mercy and promise that describes the journey I’m probably only beginning. The rest is yet to come.
“One thing I know is that I’m not alone. God didn’t promise us a life of no pain or even tragic death, but He did promise He would never leave us or forsake us. And I’m holding dearly to that promise for my son as well as myself.”
Editor’s Note — The autopsy and toxicology report results for Truett Foster McKeehan were released Jan. 23 and are outlined in a Baptist Press article.