“What is Your Definition of Grace?”

How do I define grace after the unimaginable happens?

That question was posed to me recently by a dear colleague of mine. We were discussing the death of my daughter and its effect on me. It has been hard, of course, having lost a child to cancer 9 years ago. Today is the anniversary of that terrible day.

I told him about how writing about my daughter’s death has been wonderfully therapeutic for me; it has helped me cope with the terrible pain and horror that is losing a child. And if it wasn’t for God’s grace, there is no way I could be alive and well right now.

That’s when he asked me that question: “What is your definition of grace?” I paused for a long while and then replied: “Talking about it with you here today.”

I don’t care what anyone says, NO ONE understands the pain of the loss of a child except those who have been — most unfortunately — admitted to that most lonely of clubs. People can say nice things; they can try to comfort you with their words; but it doesn’t really help. No one understands.

It is a terror that is beyond words to describe. It is a suffocation of pain and grief that quickly overwhelms. It is liable to make anyone go absolutely crazy, because the boring pain of the loss of a child is something can gnaw at the very soul.

That I am still able to talk about it is manifest evidence of enormous Grace. I have written numerous pieces and reflections about the death of my daughter. In fact, I have written so many that it is becoming more and more difficult to write about her death. This makes me sad, because I haven’t forgotten her or the pain of her loss. Still, every year it gets harder and harder to write about her.

That said, the fact that I can even write this piece is manifest evidence of the Grace in which I am basking each and every day. He has saved me from losing my mind; He has saved me from pushing away those around me who still need me to be their husband, son, brother, and father; He has saved me from retreating into the dark recesses of the mind and soul, paralyzed with a grief that can overwhelm the best of us.

I am truly grateful for this Grace. I am forever indebted to our Lord for this Grace. I owe my very life to Him for this Grace. While part of me wishes that this piece could be much longer, I am nonetheless grateful that I am able to write anything at all.

This is my definition of Grace, and I cannot ever be grateful enough to Him for it.