Broken Hearted

by john
(Carrollton, Texas)

As a pastor and as a father I have had more than a few occasions to contemplate the incomprehensible heartache of losing a child. Without fail those efforts have ended the same way -- the utter absence of any ability to understand such a tragedy. The complete futility of trying to put myself in another parent's shoes. Is there any worse nightmare?

Over the last few days as I have read the numerous texts, Facebook posts and other words of condolence, I find myself in that same state of contemplation, only to awaken suddenly again to realize that this time the parents are Pam and me. Most of the time it is simply a bad dream from which I am longing to awaken.

There are, of course, the questions of how and why. There are the thoughts of this little thing or that little thing that could have changed the course of history, but did not.

And, there are the questions about what lies ahead. I know that I will not be -- I cannot be -- the same person I was three days ago. Pam and I are all too aware of the statistics for marriages that are tested by such tragedies. We are determined not to be a statistic. Indeed, we hope our family will be closer and stronger on the other end. But how that can happen is at this point a mystery.

God has taught me so much about loving others over the past few years, but I wonder whether -- not whether, but how the loss of my son will change who I have become. Will I become more sensitive to the pain of others, or will I be tempted to measure their circumstances against the horror of this time?

People say that some day Pam and I will be able to really minister to others from this place. While I am sure that is true, that day seems so far away.

Mostly, this time is a ping pong match between complete denial and utter despair. My mind drifts and then the elephant shifts his weight back onto my chest.

All I really know now is that I am so thankful that I know God and that I have the prayers and support of family and so many amazing friends. I do not see how we could make it through this without you. Pam, Christian, Dani and I are so thankful and grateful for each of you. I am sure Jonathan is too.

Comments for Broken Hearted

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Mar 24, 2014
by: Michelle

I believe you will minister to others and will do it with grace. Please let your wife know from one mother to another how sorry I am. Hugs to you both

Mar 23, 2014
by: John

MI -- Anonymous

Thank you for your kind words. My father passed away a couple of years ago, and I know how difficult it has been on my mother. Now more than ever, I wish he was here to support me as I try to navigate life without my older son.

Your faith will bring you through. And, as hard as it is to hear sometimes, I believe that God will give you opportunities to minister to others in ways that in the past you could not have imagined.

It sounds to me like you are stronger than you think. But, I also agree with you that each of us needs to be free to grieve in our own unique way. No one had the same relationship with your husband as you did. It was a one of a kind marriage, and yours must be a one of a kind grieving.

God bless you.


Mar 23, 2014
To Michelle
by: John


I am so terribly sorry about Megan. She must have been a wonderful and remarkable young lady.

I understand (I think) what you mean when you say you believe in God but are not religious. I think many people feel that way today -- in part because churches have failed them.

Although Pam and I are new to this journey (and certainly wish we were not on it at all) I think that having an intimate relationship with God is the only thing that will get us through this. My wife is an incredible woman of faith, and she reminds me ofter of two things. The first is that Jonathan is in a better place. The second is that God loves him even more than we do.

I believe that God wants to have a deeper relationship with each of us, and that He has incredible plans for you. We cannot have Jonathan or Megan back with us, but we can choose to live in such a way that good continues to come out of their lives. That may or may not make sense to you right now, but I pray that it will some day.

I am praying for you Michelle. I wish with all my heart that you did not have to go through this pain ... I wish none of us had to.

If my wife or I can help in some way, feel free to contact me at

God bless you.


Mar 23, 2014
Broken Hearted.
by: Doreen UK

John I am sorry for your's and Pams' loss of your son. As a Pastor you have officiated at many a funeral without having perhaps experienced a loss yourself. But you would still have had a very compassionate heart and support to those suffering a loss without knowing this by experience. This loss of a child is the very worst a parent can experience. It is such an unbearable pain that tears at the soul. I lost my husband of 44yrs. 22 months ago to a deadly cancer that was growing inside of him for 40yrs. I nursed him for 3yrs. 39days. Then he died. I sat watching over him waiting for my MIRACLE of Healing. He was anointed for Healing and died 8hrs later. Our Pastor was shocked. I know God and didn't want to be ANGRY. But I was. I felt let down and didn't understand how some people are healed and other's die. God was no respecter of persons so WHY? This anger was part of my grief and God brought me through this. I have had a deep understanding and relationship with God. I KNOW HIM! HOW? Through TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS. God says to us. "Go and comfort others with the comfort you have received from me." God gave me a Ministry out of my husband's death. To go and Comfort others. I am doing this. I come across so many issues in other peoples lives that I have an answer for through my own battles and suffering with, some encouragement. God is using MY LOSSES to bring Healing to other's.
You will now HEAL through the losses of other's. It is called Creative Grieving and as you comfort other's you will be Healing. You will never get over your loss of your child. But the pain will get less and God will be your ultimate source of strength and comfort. You will go through your trials and tribulation but you will become more like Jesus when he turns your scars into stars. You will have this Blessed Hope of seeing your child again when Jesus comes back to earth for us as he promised. "I will come back again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also." Hold onto this Hope. This is what keeps me going on each day. May God comfort you and Pam in your loss and give you his strength and His Peace. GOD IS CLOSE TO THE BROKEN HEARTED.

Mar 23, 2014
Loss of your son
by: Michelle

First I want you to know how sorry i am for the loss of your son. Only those of us who have lost a child can understand, those who have not I can tell you it is humanly impossible to even begin to imagine. So those who say I can only imagine CAN NOT. We lost our beautiful daughter Megan January 8th 2103. She was 22 years old. My husband and I of 28 years are still together but we travel very separate paths on our never ending road of grief. I believe in God but I am not religious. Does that make sense? Its not that I chose to live, I've just chosen not to die. I feel like I have life in one hand and a gun in the other, short of taking your own life, you will survive. I prayed,begged, screamed out for death but it never came. There was something extraordinary about her when she was born but i can't explain it. I used to tell her that I should have named her grace because I always felt she was my savings grace.
I used to believe in Heaven, Earth, and *ell but I now believe *ell is here on earth. The pits of *ell opened up that day and sucked us in.
Force yourself to eat and remind yourself to breath.

Mar 23, 2014
Broken Hearted
by: Anonymous--MI

John, I read your post and am very sad about the loss of your dear son. I have not lost a child but I am grieving the death of my dear husband of 43 years from SCA in 2012. I do not know the depths of your grief as you do not know mine but we have each suffered one of the worst events in this earthly life. I, like you, look to the Lord and Savior to guide me on this road of despair. Well meaning people have told you that you will minister to others because of the death of your son. I have been told similar things from others but the hard and harsh reality is that at this time we do not want or care to be helpful to others, even though this is our mission in life. The past 16 months have taught me that grief is a very personal and individual thing and we must go through it in our own way and our own time. Sometimes I tend to withdraw from family and friends because they simply do not and cannot understand my grief; many think they know but until they have walked in my shoes they have no clue. I have far to go in my journey of grief; it will take as long as it takes to get to inner peace. My husband and I shared a wonderful life together and I will never recover from his having to leave me. However, I have two children(and their spouses) and 4 wonderful grkids and I want to be somewhat whole to love and support them. God has asked us to do one of the hardest things in life and that is giving up our beloved loved ones. I wish I had great comforting advice for you but I do not. What I do offer is what you already know; that is God has promised us a glorious and everlasting life in heaven. If I did not have this hope to cling to I would not make it another day. May God help you and your wife and family as you now travel this road of grief with the rest of us on this site. It will take time; a lot of time to begin to settle into the different road we are now to take, but as you well know, 'the will of God will not take us, where the grace of God cannot keep us'. I am so sorry for your loss.

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