Our meeting was a "God-Thing". She is originally from Maine, and even though I have lived in Maine and my son who passed away was also from Maine, that is not how we met...or maybe in an indirect way it is. Several years ago I was looking at some information about a town in Maine on the internet and somehow clicked on a link that led to my friend's blog that she and her daughter were writing together. Here is a link to that blog:
Once I started to read I soon realized that we had a lot in common...my friend's daughter was about the same age as my son. She had a very rare form of cancer, and so did my son, although they were different types of cancer...they were none the less deadly. They were both married and each had one child.
My new friend and I are also Pastor's wives...and both of our husbands are retired. We both have three children, all born in the same years. Oh, and she and I are very close in age.
Throughout the years that she and her daughter were writing their prayer requests, sharing the journey of struggling through the realities of living with cancer, I was also doing the same with my blog as I dealt with the reality of my son's journey with cancer. And we began to encourage one another through comments, prayers and even on facebook. When my friend's daughter died two years ago this past November, I grieved with her. My heart was broken for her and her daughter's family. I had prayed and hoped that somehow she would be healed, but that wasn't God's plan.
During the intervening time, my own son was continuing to fight his own battle, and I know my friend also prayed for him to be healed just as I did, but sadly, that wasn't God's plan. When my friend saw that my son had died six months ago, she messaged me that we needed to get together. I replied that I hoped that day would come soon.
Oh, the other thing I forgot to tell you is that my friend has a home in Florida, which is also where I live. And last week she contacted me and invited me to meet her in a community not too far away from where I live, as she would be passing through. I was delighted to accept that invitation. And so that brings us up to today.
What do two mothers who have so much in common do when they finally meet in person for the first time? They hug. They smile. They talk. They pray. They almost cry...the tears were very close to the surface. They share their current concerns for their loved ones who have been left behind...our grandchildren, the widowed spouses of our children, our other immediate family members, husbands, other children who are also grieving the loss of their sibling. They share their stories of how they are dealing with the grief, and how they continue work through the sorrows on holidays and other events.
They encourage one another and hope that this new friendship will continue into the future. They take selfies:
|My new friend and I. Yes, I was having a bad hair day.|
But everything else was wonderful. :)
That's the story of two mothers who have so much in common...and even though we don't like the reason we were brought together, we thank the Lord that He saw fit to allow our paths to cross. We have both grown in our journey...grown in faith, grown in the ability to show empathy and compassion for others in similar circumstances. We've grown stronger. Who knows how God will use this experience in the future? Maybe He has plans that we don't know about yet. But even if we never have the opportunity to meet again here on earth, we know that we will continue to carry that little place in our hearts for each other...because we both know that this was one of those God-appointed times....a "God-Thing." And we WILL meet again, someday...where we will both enjoy a wonderful family reunion with our precious children who have gone on before us. I have a feeling our "kids" were smiling down on us today.
I know there are many other mothers out there who have suffered such a great loss. Some of us have already connected on facebook and through blogging. I encourage you today to continue to reach out to others. Some of you have been an encouragement to me during the years that my son was fighting his battle with cancer...even though your child had already lost the fight...you went out of your way to share knowledge with me about the disease we were fighting and about ways to turn a negative thing into a way to help others. I thank you for that. Your courage and strength was an inspiration to me. I hope that I can also be a help to others along the way. That is my prayer. May my son's journey not be in vain.