Dealing with Sudden Loss

We tell one another that we have no guarantees for the future. We don’t know who will live to be 100, who will die before retirement, and who may die tomorrow. Life is filled with uncertainty.

This was brought home to me rather graphically this week. My wife Sharon has a number of friends she’s stayed in touch with ever since childhood, and she naturally cherishes her relationships with these people.

Monday, she received a terse email from one of these friends she’s known since they were in the fifth grade—close to 60 years ago. All the email said was, “My daughter died.”

Such a cryptic message with no explanation included seemed strange enough to us we thought it was probably a hoax. The daughter in question was in her early forties and, so far as anyone knew, in excellent health. She wasn’t a drug user or a clinically depressed suicide candidate. My first thought was to ignore the message, but Sharon called her friend and asked if she’d just sent an email.

Turns out her daughter actually had died Monday morning. It was a complete shock to everyone, including the lady’s daughter, who found her. The girl called her grandmother first, then her grandfather and finally 911.

An event such as this makes you stop and think about your own loved ones. I cannot possibly imagine what it would do to me to receive such news about my own daughter, but I know I’d be devastated. Even though this young lady, like my daughter, is a Christian and is now in heaven with Jesus, the thought of having something like this happen to my daughter—or to her husband or kids or my stepson or his wife—is beyond my ability to consider.

As I thought about the family of this young lady, I remembered how my older sister lost her oldest child some 20 years ago and how my mother lost my younger sister 18 years ago and my little brother 10 years ago. Yes, we’ve had sad occasions like this in my family, but it’s still unthinkable, the grief unimaginable.

An autopsy showed this woman had an unknown and undiagnosed heart condition which, presumably, was the cause of her death. That’s certainly better than learning she was an addict who had overdosed or that she was so depressed she committed suicide. But it’s still a horrific loss to her family.

She leaves behind a husband and two children. I don’t know their ages, but they’re both in school. Her loss also deprives the family of her income as a school teacher. Her widower must now face raising his children by himself with about half the income he’s accustomed to having.

An event such as this makes me want to drive 200 miles to hug my daughter—and my son-in-law and my grandsons, along with my stepson and daughter-in-law. I need them to know I love them. I know they all realize that, but it still makes me want to go reassure them and to see their faces and hear their voices.

Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Thank God for every day you have them to share in your life.

What traumatic losses have you suffered? How have you dealt with them?

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We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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15 Responses to Dealing with Sudden Loss

  1. Loss, regardless of age, is always a bitter pill to swallow. I think having faith helps give hope, but I’ve also seen that faith turn to bitterness when, in grief, loved ones left behind rail at God because we don’t always understand His plan. I’m sorry for your wife’s friend’s loss. My prayers go out to that family.

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  2. Barb Estinson says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the sudden loss of Sharon’s friend’s daughter. Is her friend someone that I know? I learned today that one of my friends lost her teen age granddaughter to suicide last night. These losses are indeed heartbreaking. The families in both of these situations are in my prayers.

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  3. The floodgates opened…
    My heartfelt prayers go out to this family. Sudden loss certainly is traumatic.
    Our oldest son (I know I’ve shared this with you before, David) Ethan passed away suddenly in an accident at the age of 7 in 2010. The Lord Jesus Christ literally carried me and spoke the words for me. I cannot describe it any other way, but the Holy Spirit took over in a time He knew that I couldn’t have otherwise carried on in my own flesh. And I think that is why many folks crumble apart in times of loss. Those that don’t believe and aren’t saved do not have the One to carry them in their utter loss through the Holy Spirit’s ministering and love. I’m not saying the Lord doesn’t care for the unsaved. In fact, I think He uses these times of great loss and pain to bring the lost to Him. I can attest to that in our loss. But I can also testify that there is NO way I would have survived such a loss without my Jesus. No way. Our family would probably have crumbled apart…I don’t want to even imagine what would have happened.

    I know many who just don’t understand the Gospel and God in general question why He would let things like this happen. And while I do not have THE answer, I do know that 1.) Those who are saved (and yes, I do not believe children have to be saved…they are innocent) and pass away are in a perfect place! They are with Jesus and they are safe!!! They are HOME! 2.) While God is in control, He also gave us freedom of choice, Quite frankly, many folks do not use that choice wisely. Hence, we live in a fallen and imperfect world. Bad things happen. 3.) God’s miracles are HIS miracles, not ours. We see miracles in a human/fleshly way at times. I firmly believe His miracle can be taking a loved Home. We may not ever see the reason this side of Heaven, but I do trust He uses everything for His glory, and for the betterment of mankind.

    Our goal as Christ-followers is to LOVE. In that LOVE, we are to share Jesus with the world. A traumatic loss can be a very powerful testimony for how the Lord Jesus has worked in our lives. Our loved one’s legacy/testimony lives on through the sharing of the love of Jesus!

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  4. We had a nearly identical experience, the sudden loss of an 18 year old daughter.

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  5. Sharon K. Walker says:

    I don’t take my loved ones for granted. Life is precious and a gift from God.

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  6. susielindau says:

    I don’t think we are prepared for death at any age in this country. I never take anything for granted. I’ll say a prayer for the family, David.

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  7. Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Thank you for sharing just what I needed

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