Thirty-seven years ago today I was sitting in such a foreign place for a 22 year old; I was sitting in a mortuary in Atchison, Kansas, 9 months pregnant, with my family and friends surrounding me. We were all there to say farewell to my only child, Jeremy Ray Coots. We had been handed down the verdict on February 23rd that our son, who had been missing since February18th, had probably succumbed in the one degree frigid water of the muddy Missouri River south of Atchison, Kansas.
The Missouri River is a very treacherous body of water which moves at a rapid seven miles per hour. And, at the time, it was even more dangerous due to a recent break upriver of a record breaking ice jam causing large, dangerous ice chunks to float downstream.
Nothing can prepare you for something like this, NOTHING.
Everyone expects to bury their grandparents.
Everyone expects to buy their parents.
NO ONE expects to bury their child.
When you lose a spouse you are referred to as a “widow” or “widower”, but there is NO NAME for someone who has buried their child. Why is that? I will tell you why…there are NO WORDS to describe that kind of pain. When you lose a child, it is like someone has ripped your arm right out of our side…
However, looking on the picture as a whole, I forced myself to review some remarkable insights that I will share with you here.
It has only been in the last half of the last Century that this has been true. If you look back to the pioneer days, for example, you will discover that it was nothing for a family to have 15-20 children. But out of those children if 5 made it to adulthood that was doing pretty well. And the cause of these deaths were multiple: some fell in wells, some by accidents with farm animals, many lives were taken by diseases that had no vaccinations available, wars, and the list goes on and on…
Nonetheless, a history lesson is NOT what I needed as I sat there all alone, with people all around me, but no one in sight. I was just out there in the middle of a cloud of fog and disbelief…
That was 37 long years ago today; seems like only five. What has time taught me? It’s taught me that there are things within my control and things that are not. I keep my focus on what I can control and let God do the rest..