A few days ago we got a call that we weren’t expecting. A local mom that we knew had lost her son…he was just 2 years older than Isaac. It was unexpected and tragic and our hearts grieved with the family.

We had been in touch with this sweet mama and wanted to stop by and see her in person. I have commented to a few friends over the past few months that I couldn’t imagine losing Isaac during a time when we were in “lockdown.” When we couldn’t have a typical funeral service…I so needed the comfort that others brought to me during those critical first few days and weeks. But now, in this time of social distancing…what do you do with that?!

Dominic and I talked about some of the most practical things we received early on and put those together to bring to our friend. I am sharing them not to brag on what we did but rather as a way to give you an idea of how you might be able to help someone in need when the time comes.

We put together an “essentials” box, napkins, kleenex, a box of quart baggies, a roll of paper towels, Clorox wipes and then a box of Nutri Grain bars, spaghetti sauce and noodles for a quick easy meal and chocolate (of course). Then we used a basket we had been gifted and filled it with all kinds of different fruit.

In those first few weeks I didn’t have much of an appetite, but a little fruit was something I could eat….and was great for my family or anyone that came by. When we received that basket it was filled with apples and oranges and also a couple of containers of juice. It was a gift to not have to go and buy some of those things in those first few weeks.

Yesterday we called our friend and asked if we could stop buy. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. While we have been to the grocery store and the hardware store in the last 8 weeks, we really haven’t seen people except for a few client signing meetings, which have been very “sterile” and socially distanced. Would we just be dropping things off on her porch? Would we be standing at a distance trying to offer comfort? It honestly felt a little weird as we were on our way.

When we arrived she invited us in and immediately we hugged. Besides my immediate family it was the first time I have had a hug or close contact with someone in months. No fear of a virus, just necessary comfort to a hurting family. We have been there in that space of unimaginable loss and understand unfortunately like many don’t. It is an honor to be allowed to walk beside someone who is hurting.

We ended up staying for several hours. We heard stories of their son, and brother and we got to share about Isaac as well. At one point she asked us what she can expect as far as emotions and feelings in the coming weeks. In those first few days it seems you have a “job,” you are planning the service and seeing people that come to offer support. I shared that it was as though God carried us in those first few weeks.

We could not have walked those days on our own. God was absolutely present. But then there comes that time when all the big things are over and everyone else has gone back to living their lives and you find yourself with your new reality. Those moments are hard ones. But there is hope.

In the early days I could not have believed that I would ever find joy again. It felt impossible. The weight of the sadness was overwhelming. But little by little joy has returned. We were able to share that hope yesterday. While it may not feel like it today, joy will come. While this situation is awful and so so sad….God still is good.

Each of us has a story. Something we have walked through that is difficult. Maybe it is a marriage struggle or addiction, pregnancy loss or trouble in school, a child with a disability or the loss of a child. There are SO many things that come at us and happen to us in this lifetime.

When we have talked about the loss of Isaac we can’t see much good out of the act of his end of life choice. Instead we have decided to make a choice to use our hurt and our experience to be of service and comfort to someone else that is walking that same path.

It is a challenge I have for all of us. What difficult thing in your life can you use to be of benefit for someone else?

Today, Mother’s Day, is an especially hard day for me. It is my first without my son here and I feel sad for myself that I won’t get to hear from him. But I also get to spend the day with my living children. – and that is a gift. And I will spend the day praying for my friend, a mama whose tender heart is broken too, but one that grieves with hope that she too will see her boy again.

I will never understand why these awful, hard things have to happen…but I will continue to run towards God. A God of comfort, who first comforted us so that we in turn could comfort others.