Photo by Antranias (2014) via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain. Photo by Antranias (2014) via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

“Well, at least you have three healthy children already.”

Of all the many failed attempts at comfort we have heard from the ears of well meaning acquaintances, this has easily been the worst.

Like a two-edged sword, it cuts with a demand to count your blessings in the face of sorrow, while seemingly discounting the new life growing in the safety of my wife’s womb.

Through all of the ups and downs of our emotional roller coaster this comment has stuck with me more than the rest (other than my coworker who responded to our news with, “Man, that really bums me out”).

As we went into the heartbreaking meeting with the cemetery this week, the gravity of our situation became all the more palpable.

At one point during the meeting, we were asked how our children were doing, and our response surprisingly opened my eyes to a new realization.

We shared how we have been explaining the situation to our kids, and how sharing with them has actually comforted us, maybe more than anything else. Reminding them that their brother will only be with us briefly before he heads straight into the arms of Jesus in Heaven has done much more than give them peace and comfort; it has reminded us of the realness of what lies ahead.

It's been so easy to be angry at God for what has happened, to cry on each and every commute to and from work.

It’s been easy because I have allowed this situation to cloud my understanding of what is really going on here.

My wife and I (and our three sons) have been entrusted with a precious child of God, and although we won’t have the opportunity to parent him in the ways we imagined before we received the news, we have been given the task of parenting him in the ways he needs.

When he comes, I will have the unfathomable blessing of baptizing him, and my wife and I will have the opportunity to share the moment where he will pass from this life to the next while we hold him in our arms and kiss him goodbye.

While I wait over the next three months and grapple with my complex emotions and frustrations over the messiness of this world, the thing I need to focus on most is the simplest truth.

The truth that my wife and I tell our children.

We don’t share our anger with them. We don’t share how cheated we feel or how we struggle to even make it through a single prayer at this point.

We don’t share those things because they aren’t the simplest truth.

The simplest and most important truth is that this beautiful baby will be headed straight from our arms into the arms of Our Lord, straight into the embrace of Our Blessed Mother.

“Well, at least you have three healthy children already.”

That’s right!

Because without them, I would not have had an opportunity to be reminded of what is really going on here. Without them, my wife and I would have allowed ourselves to sink into a deep, dark, and hopeless depression that most likely led us to turn our backs on God.

Without them, most especially the one we will barely get to meet, we would never move forward on our journey to become saints.

Copyright 2016 Tommy Tighe