As time has gone by..six years now, I have tried to not repeatedly read all the things that my son, Brandon, has left behind. Yet, at the same time, I am drawn to his prayer/dream journal. It pains me greatly to know some of the desires of his heart that were never met..i.e. the love of a good woman and becoming a successful writer and filmmaker. He has written “I love too much” and that his affections were spurned by those he thought would be “the one.” Several times he wrote out prayers asking God not to allow him to destroy himself. He suffered in silence about this. He wrote “all I have is my words to You, (Lord) and these pages where I can say the truth of how I feel.” My son and I had many long conversations about girls, love, theological questions, doubts, his dreams, and his future. I guess some things were left unsaid because he was too embarrassed to tell me. His father was never an option because he is a silent, distant person who can’t share with others, not his children or me. My son has received his sensitivity and affectionate behavior from me. I taught my children about God their whole lives. I took them to church minus their father. I have sat them down for heart to heart concerns throughout their lives minus their father. Their formative years have been greatly influenced by me on all levels. That being said, their father has been influential in other ways. He has been a good provider and attentive in all their school events. He does love us but he has a difficult time showing it. He has been there …but not. I have had to deal with the emotional issues and disciplines more often than he. This is why I take it to heart that I have been a failure. My genes have been passed on as more of a curse than a positive possession. My advice was well intended and always out of love and I know this but it does not make the outcome of their life’s challenges any better.
Lately, I have been very angry at God. I don’t understand why He would allow Brandon to die by his own hand. I don’t understand why mental illness is prevalent in my family. I don’t know why the devil gets to win here on earth (for a time). I have prayed a lifetime for only good. I have prayed for my family’s concerns. Why the torment? Why does my family have to struggle with an issue that has an everlasting stigma and no understanding even in the medical community? I question my faith. Maybe this has happened because I am being tested. I am failing this test. I go back and forth between peace and utter despair over what has happened to our son and what is happening to another of our children with mental illness. I am scared that suicide will continue to visit my family and destroy my faith. Is this the will of God who says He loves me and my family and will not forsake us? I would never will such as this on the children I love. I am getting tired of uttering my prayers…my groaning and moaning. I think of all that Job went through in order to prove the devil can’t have the faithful….that Job’s faith would never be an issue even in the face of the horrors that Satan was allowed to inflict on God’s beloved servant. Here I am…angry that my boy’s prayers were about his own proclivity of self destruction. That even though they were written about nine years before he died by said suicide that God knew the day Brandon was conceived how he would die. I do not understand. So much I know…so much I don’t. I am scared of my flesh and humanness…the failing of faith. What then? I can say that even though I am angry that I still love God. I know my son did, too.
I am really, really missing Brandon. I can’t stand this and I have told God how much I hate this world. I figure why not be honest. Who are we kidding? I feel powerless in many ways. I know God does answer prayers. I know this but the biggest one was not. What mother would not say that her prayers for her children were the least important?
I miss you sweet boy. I love you forever and envision you in Heaven with a glorious smile on your precious face. I know that even in this anger phase…this questioning phase…in my continual flawed phase…that perhaps the one prayer that is acceptable is the one that Jesus taught us to pray.
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Somehow this just doesn’t cover all that I would want to say or all that I have come up against. Where is the thankfulness and gratitude? I don’t mean to be critical but it seems lacking in a way. Forgive me Jesus. I have said this prayer many, many times when I have given up on my own watery words. I actually think we can take liberties with this prime example of prayer. I don’t think it should serve as the one and only prayer said in rote fashion with little regard to its significance. It is a template for how to approach our Father. But Ohhh, how I could rewrite it from my heart’s depth. How I have taken the liberties that death has inspired.
Charles Spurgeon wrote as a last line to one of his devotions. “Father teach me to love You as I ought.” This is what I hope to learn from all of this sorrow. I hope that instead of failing and falling that I can be lifted by God’s own merciful hands in this life. I know it was His hands that delivered Brandon into Heaven. I am thankful for knowing that. I am very thankful for Jesus.