By Ruqayya Gibson
Every day, I hear or read the statement “gone too soon.”
Sudden and unexpected death opens your eyes to the frailty of life. Healthy and vibrant one moment, and gone the next, in an instant.
We always plan for tomorrow, forgetting that tomorrow is not promised.
We all say that we know that time is limited and that life is short. But we NEVER think it can happen to our child.
And NEVER think it could happen without us making a mistake…or from something we had NO control over.
But there is peace in that statement if we truly seek peace. We are NOT in control of life and death and, therefore, cannot be to blame.
We know that death is a part of life, but we somehow have been brainwashed to believe that only applies to adults or older people.
It is a part of life.
Death can knock at anyone’s door unannounced, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Sure we can cry, protest, yell at God, and beg God to take us instead. But it doesn’t bring them back.
Believe me. I’ve tried.
Now you may be asking, how is talking about life being short helping with healing?
Well, closing your eyes in the rain doesn’t keep you from getting wet. Refusing to look at the reality of death doesn’t make it go away.
I believe making child loss such a taboo topic makes it harder to process and heal. We have to stop saying gone too soon as if to say God made a mistake or even worse- that humans made a mistake that annulled God’s will.
After losing Damani, I felt so isolated and alone. There is a sense of shame that comes with being a bereaved parent.
People say “gone too soon” to offer comfort, but it is a punch in the gut. It is the new scarlet letter branded on the forehead.
But in this case, it stands for Failure – the parent that couldn’t keep their child alive.
As I’ve met other parents who feel the same way, I can see from the outside that they are not failures or bad parents, and there was nothing they could have done differently.
It is in being able to say those words to them that I realized that the same words applied to me.
There was nothing I could have done to keep my baby here.
Grief is a very lonely and depressing road.
But on that road, I began to notice countless others traversing the path, trying to find their way. It is lonely though we’re not alone – and it is consoling though it’s hard to find comfort.
Realizing how many others have had to endure this pain and have made it gave me the courage to take one more step, then another and another.
I looked up to realize I had traveled a mile – but one step at a time.
We wake up every day to the news that someone young has died, and we always hear people say, “gone too soon.” Yet we still go about our lives as if it will never affect us personally.
Surely we aren’t doing anything deserving of being taken or losing our children too soon.
Who determines when it is “too soon?”
Years on this earth are not a measurement of “too soon.”
Soon is not only determined by time. Soon is measured by purpose.
God is in control of the when – not us. It’s only “too soon” if we don’t take advantage of them now.
The outside world says “gone too soon,” but I have to believe that my son is:
#1 – still here, ever-present in the light he shared with everyone he touched.
And #2 – “gone” when God called him.
And we will all go the same way. Right when God calls us – not “too soon.”
We are only “gone too soon” if we waste days of our lives fulfilling our fantasies instead of fulfilling our purpose.
So to my fellow grievers seeking to heal your broken hearts, please find peace in the knowledge that you are not alone and that your loved one had (has) a purpose, and what you do with the rest of your days is intertwined with your loved one’s purpose being fulfilled.
We are all connected, and one’s purpose does not die with them but is infused into the hearts of those who love them.
Let your loved one’s purpose permeate your soul and be fulfilled in every deed along this journey of life.
So don’t say gone too soon – instead say, “THEY LIVED!”
“Surely, God takes what is His, and what He gives is His, and to all things, He has appointed a time.”