Dawn (far right) with her skating friends.
This coming Tuesday, my daughter Dawn, would be thirty-nine years old. She was a sweet and precious girl who moved to heaven when she was just eight years old. I am writing this birthday blog today not just for my daughter Dawn, but for every family who has lost a daughter. Real young women like Brittney, Savannah, Monica, Kameron, Brigette, Rhonda and Jaime, whose stories I hold in my heart. Daughter’s lives cut short by a car crash, a helicopter crash, drugs, illness, suicide and murder. Daughter’s deaths that leave families and most of all parents in shock, disbelief and unfathomable pain.
The essence of their life keeps playing in our heads and in our hearts. The softness of their skin, the lilt of their laughter, the smell of their hair, that smile, that hug, that hand in ours – all bring on another waterfall of tears. We cry until we have no more tears left. And yet, God’s Word tells us that:
[He] keeps track of all my sorrows,
He has collected all my tears in His bottle.
He has recorded each one in His book. Psalm 56:8
And, in 2 Kings 20:5, God says:
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.
These verses don’t mean that God has bottles of tears lined up on heavenly shelves, or that God will grant our every request, but it does mean that He hears our cry, and He sees our tears. He knows the pain we are in and He remembers. Perhaps there are times when, instead of praying for our pain to be taken away, we feel the need pray that Jesus finds a purpose in our pain? I think that losing a child is one of those time when the pain serves a purpose on our journey through grief into healing. In our pain, we honor our daughters. We memorialize their goodness and light. Every detailed memory is woven into the fabric of the life that we continue to live. We are grateful for the blessing of bringing our precious daughters into this world and, for the time that we had the privilege of raising them up. Hopefully, we all find ways to reinvest the love and commitment to our daughters that we hold in our hearts, into moments of sharing and caring that make them proud of us.
In the moments when I struggle with Dawn’s life cut short, I call to mind the pain of couples who desperately wanted a daughter but could not have one. It allows me to smile through my tears as I remember my sweet girl. It allows me to celebrate that she has moved to heaven and is rejoicing with Jesus in resurrection glory.
Happy Birthday, Dawn. I love and miss you so much. You have carved a forever niche in my heart where I hold you close. Remembering Dawn and all of our daughters today who are gone from our touch but never from our hearts.