by Donna Berger
When Tia Coleman got on the Branson Duck Boat two weeks ago with her ten family members, she never dreamed she would be only one of two members of the Coleman family to survive the trip. It was a heart-breaking tragedy for everyone involved, but I found my own heart particularly identifying with Tia’s loss of her husband, Glenn, and their three children, Reece, 9, Evan 7, and Arya, just a year old. My own husband, Gerry, and our three children were in that same age range when they were killed in a car accident. And, like Tia who cried out for her “babies,” I called out for my “kids.” Tia said, “I survived by God and good Samaritans.” We both did. And just like I did not know at the time, Tia says, “I do not know if there is a recovery from it. [But], the biggest thing is a lot of prayer.” Today I can say, “Tia, you will recover, and you are already on the path that will lead you through this tragedy: prayer, faith and trust in the Lord.”
The author, Madeleine L’Engle wrote after the death of her husband, “the true consolations of religion are not rosy and cozy, but comforting in the true meaning of the word: com-fort: with strength. The comfort of faith is the “Strength to go on living, and to trust that…anyone we love who has died…is being taken care of by that Love which began it all.”
There is no human love relationship that does not end in sorrow, but C. S. Lewis in his book, A Grief Observed, points out that “bereavement is not the dissolution of a love relationship, but one of the phases that all relationships ultimately experience.” Death is not the end of a love relationship and each of us is called to live our love relationships well and faithfully through the separation phase, whether we lose our spouse, our child, our parent or another loved one, because we do not grieve as those who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) Jesus Himself tells us, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” Our hope is in the Lord and in the treasure of our salvation – eternal life with God.
So yes, dear Tia, you will recover. The road will be hard, filled with twists and turns, and you will hardly ever have a moment when you forget. You will always have pain from that part of your heart that they took with them and life will be different, but your faith will be rewarded. In your own words, Tia, “I don’t have the capacity to understand it. The only thing is, God must have something for me because there’s no way I should be here.” And you are right, God has something greater than you can hope for or imagine, and He will fill your life with light, color and joy again.
When we accept the gift of salvation that the Father offers us through the blood of Jesus, we are filled with the grace to live a life of faith. And when we live a life of faith we can be assured that no matter the trial we face the Lord is faithful.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)