To All Who Have Lost a Parent

Harold Shank
National Spokesperson for CCFSA

At some point in life we lose our parents. In the last decade my wife has lost both her mother and father.  Recently I read an article by a man named Bill who shared the grief over his father’s passing. He said nobody believed in him like his dad and he didn’t know how he could go on. In the space of just a couple of years, while ministering at funerals for an older woman and man in the church, I saw the deep grief their 55-year old daughter faced. Hardly a month goes by without encountering some person who has lost a parent.
Losing a parent is never easy no matter what our age. Mothers and fathers play a critical role in the lives of almost all people. I have two things to say to all who have lost a parent.
The first is a call to look upward. God remains our father. Despite the loss of a physical parent, God continues to be our spiritual father. I am sorry for your loss. This call to look upward does not negate your loss, but aims to comfort you. God does not take the place of your physical parent’s memory, but offers you security and peace in their absence. Look up.
The second is a call to look down, down at infants and children who have lost their parents at an early age.  They are experiencing at age two or 12 what you went through at age 42 or 62. They have been denied the decades of having a loving parent. What was taken from you at age fifty has been ripped from them at age five months.  
If you have lost a parent, you understand Bill’s difficulty after the loss of his father; you know the struggle of the 55-year old daughter who lost both elderly parents within a short space of time. You know the pain, the loneliness and the emptiness they experience. Having known that loss, you are in a special place to advocate for those who lose their parents at an extremely young age. While those of us who were raised by our own parents cannot comprehend the experiences of a child without parents, those of us who lose our parents when we are adults can begin to enter into the experience of an orphaned child.
We cannot bring our parents back. Often we cannot restore the parents of a child who has lost her mother or a boy who has never known his father. But we can make sure that parentless children have caring adults to surround them at their time of loss just as we, in the body of Christ, have been lifted up by those in our spiritual community.
Nothing can take the place of our parents, but by looking up and down we can find a way to live out their memory.


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