So many times I have heard bereaved parents say, “I would give anything to have my child back.” I have said those same words myself. I screamed them up to God. I prayed them even though I knew God had a larger plan than I could comprehend. Even though I knew God is not the creator of death. God wishes more than anything that humankind had not succumbed to temptation. So much so that He sacrificed his own son that we could have an escape route from this flawed world.
Still, I would give my own life to have my daughter back. Actually, knowing that Heaven is my final destination, it is not a huge sacrifice. I would not wish it on my worst enemy to lose their child. Not my other child, my grandchildren, my husband. It’s not my place to sacrifice others. I have not been sacrificed. Neither has my daughter. God has taken none of us away. This world is flawed and corrupt and bad things happen. Her death was as much happenstance as the last person who died. But, I would have died in her place.
Yes, my husband, my children and grandchildren, my brother, other relatives and friends would be sad. They would have said I died too young, just as my mother did. But, they would have persevered, just as I have in the 25 years since my own mother died. Rachel and her husband would have had a marriage and a life. Who knows how many years they would have had together? But, despite how much I can beg God to reverse time and let her avoid that moment in traffic that took her life, what I would give to have her back is limited. I can only agree to give myself in her stead. More than that is not mine to give. I know the pain of child loss. I know the change in life’s trajectory that occurs when your child is no longer on this earth. My conscience and heart would not withstand wishing that on another person.
Maybe you think this is melodramatic. Maybe you think I wish to be a martyr. It may sound like that, but I am nowhere near sainthood. I am not a particularly courageous person. I am still grieving and often angry that my daughter is no longer physically here with me. I don’t understand why this had to happen – her death in a random car accident, at age 30, two months after her marriage to the love of her life – when she had just hit her stride and had so much potential. I would like an answer. RIGHT NOW! I would like her back! But, I don’t get that.
What I do get . . . what I HAVE . . . is God’s assurance that there is a purpose greater than Satan’s. There is a PROMISE of resurrection, eternity, togetherness, clarity, love. A return on our investment of faith and belief and, yes, sacrifice. A sacrifice so small in comparison to God’s sacrifice of His own son that it feels blasphemous to mention it. And yet, I do. I’m not God. I’m not Jesus. But, God forgive me, I would give my life to have my daughter back.