More unnatural conversations

Last night was difficult for us as a family.  It involved a very unnatural conversation with our six year old daughter, Isabela.  A conversation that makes me grateful, yet angry for having to have had it.  A conversation that I myself don’t fully understand.  A conversation that began in tears and ended in more tears.

As I was putting Isabela to bed and getting ready to read the bible to her, I asked her how she was doing with regards to her missing Susana and things like that.  She told me that that she was fine.  So, I pressed in a little and asked her if she ever thinks about Susana and how does that make her feel.  She then opened up and shared about how she does think about her often and sometimes she gets sad, but is afraid to cry.  She said that she doesn’t want to cry because she doesn’t want to take anything away from us feeling happy.  My heart broke.  Then she told me that she has cried a few times in the car, but kept it hidden from us, and told us that she was just playing and pretending when we asked her what was going on.  I felt really bad.

So, we put the bible aside for a moment, and I told her how it is completely ok for her to cry whenever and wherever.  I told her that she should not feel bad about crying.  I told her to look at me and see that her Daddy cries all the time.  That crying is normal and God completely understands that we will have many tears of sadness because we miss our sweet Susana.  So, I encouraged her to cry whenever she needs to.  And, of course, as I was talking about these things with her, I began to cry.  Then, she asked for me to go get Mommy for her.  And I knew that she was going to cry with Mommy.  And I was glad.  I knew that my little girl needed to cry.

I overheard Mommy and her talking briefly, and then I heard Isabela just start crying.  My heart broke, but at the same time I was glad to hear it because she has not really cried much at all, except for a few shed tears here and there, since Susana went to heaven.

After Maria came back out 15 minutes later, we talked on the couch about what had happened.  Shortly into our conversation, we heard Isabela start to cry again.  We both agreed that it was good and that we should let her cry.  So, after a few minutes of her and I trying to talk, her crying became more and more.  So, we both got up and went to her room to be with her.  We just climbed on her bed, held her hand, and cried along side of her.  It was the first time that Isabela has ever cried like this.  It broke my heart.  She was grieving the loss of her sister and her best friend.  And she is only six years old.

And then it dawned on me…she probably has no idea what is going on inside of her.  That’s probably why she would try to hide back her tears.  She’s never experienced such tragedy and grief.  Even Maria and I have never experienced such grief, but at least we know and understand that such grief will cause the tears to fall without ceasing.  But what does Isabela, a little six year old girl, know about how to walk through grief.

So, after many many tears, I explained to her about how important it is for us to release what we are feeling to God rather than try to stuff it back down inside of us.  I used the analogy of a can of coke and asked her the question as to what happens when you shake a can of coke a lot and then open it up.  She knew that the answer is that it will explode all over the place.  And so I then told her to imagine that her body was the can and the pain and sadness was the coke.  If she keeps stuffing down the pain and sadness without letting it out, then it will become very messy one day and she is going to spill out all over the place in a very unhealthy manner.  But, if she pours out the pain now, then God is able to bring healing and wholeness to her heart, even though it will hurt some as she allows the pain to pour out.  She was looking at me and really understanding what I was saying.  She was asking good questions that showed that she was getting it.  Then she started asking silly questions, and I knew that it was finally time for nite nite, and Maria and I gave her huge hugs, and then she fell asleep.

Maria and I talked about it for a while afterwards on the couch.  We were sad.  I was crying.  And I told Maria that this is where I feel that it is just so wrong to have to have a conversation like that with a six year old little girl.  That’s where I get mad.  Again, not mad at God, but mad at this sin cursed world.  And this is where I know that it really is unnatural to have such conversations, especially with a six year old little princess.  But, for us as believers, there are many things in this life that are unnatural because we were not made for such a life as this.

And so, by His grace, we have such conversations, and we learn to trust the Lord more, and we walk forward.  But my heart just breaks for my little girl who has to be schooled so early in life about the deepest pain and brokenness that one could ever feel.  Most six year olds are busy about playing with their barbies, playing dress-up, and watching Disney.  Yet my six year old is wrestling with looking at an empty bed next to her and wondering why her sister was taken to heaven so early, and wondering what to do with all the feelings that are caused by such thoughts.  She hurts.  She is wounded.  She is sad.   Why should any six year old have to deal with such things at that age?  I wish I had the answer.

But, she, like Maria and I, are being taught more than ever about what it truly means to walk with Jesus.  It is not an easy road here on this earth, but the joys and rewards in Heaven will be unspeakable!  And I pray that my little girl grows in this knowledge and truth more so than ever through what she is enduring at such a young age.

9 thoughts on “More unnatural conversations

  1. We have had so many of the same expereinces you describe above. The anger forhaving to expose our sweet children to this level of pain. How they have to grow up and understand too much too fast. The anger at the broken fallen world. Not to mention the piercing pain of watching the little one you love so so so much wince in pain and grief. It’s a heart piercing cry like no other. I keep having to remin myself that our children, although little, are people too. They grieve and feel big feelings. They each have to make sense of this broken world and the pain they endure. We we are at our lowest, our absolute lowest, we don’t feel like we have the energy to “handle” the emotions of our children. OF course as parents we want to bear it for them. But this is something that Isabela needs to bear, just as each of you do. There is no way to make it “all better”. Only God will heal your hearts. Every day that you have the courage to grieve and put one foot infront of the other is a step towards that healing. God will translate those tears that you cry together in a unique bond that will bring your family even closer. Emily just stopped by the computer and wanted me to tell you that if Isabela has anything that is special to Susana that she could snuggle when she is sad, that might help her some. (We have Ava’s teddy around here and he really does help- even with Mommy and Daddy sometimes).

    The road is horrible. But the gift of learing to rely on God on a whole new way is incredible.

    Keep on walking. Praise the Lord for your wisdom on how to help Isabela navigate these troubled waters.

    -Amy Benton

  2. Pslam 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
    I am praying for you as you teach your child to grieve…..and I think it sucks that you have to do it.

  3. You all continue to be in my daily thoughts and prayers. You have taught me so much and continue to be God’s vessel of honor. I am so thankful for you and yet I also suffer with you as I read these articles. GOD is so amazing in His provision and yet…we suffer. God bless you always all of you!!!!

  4. Oh Code. I wish I was there to cry with you and give each of you a really big hug. Though this breaks my heart, I am relieved that princess Isabela was finally free to have a good and deep cry. I can’t imagine how her precious little heart is grieving. I’m sure Isabela is sad and confused, but you and Maria raised some pretty amazing children. With your guidance and the Lord’s help your little princess will grow beyond her grief and walk in her destiny despite this tragedy. Praying that the God of all comfort will comfort your heart even as you are ministering to your daughter. I love you guys!!! I think it’s time for me to have a COKE. 🙁

  5. Oh Cody & Maria,
    My heart broke as I read this and I cried for Isabela’s shed tears. I am so glad you had the serious talk with her about Susana. She needed to let go of her grief and you handled it so honorably, giving glory to God with each words. Both of you bring such joy to me through the words you are able to share. I will remind you again and again how very blessed I am just to know you. Give Isabela hugs and kisses from Ms. Tootie. Love and prayers to you.

  6. Cody and Maria…I will continue to pray for your both and your entire family, but I will especially begin to lift up isabella before the Lord for His special touch of comfort and peace. My heart broke just reading it…how she was trying to put up a good front for everyone else. I too am angered…not at God but this world…and even more the one who is the enemy of all that is pure and holy and beautiful. but even as he may sneer with malice that he won by taking Susana away from everyone, we know that it is he who has lost the battle. for Jesus walked out of that grave, and because He is alive, we know that we too shall live again…and so shall Susana… and that she is already more alive than she ever was.

    Isabela is so lucky and blessed to have had such a wonderful little sister, and Susana was equally blessed to have Isabela as her big sister and best friend.
    You have been blessed to have been loaned her for just a short season, but also to know that the time away from her is only a short season.

    We love you both…and we will be keeping you all in prayer…and now, most especially Susana.


  7. Cody and Maria,
    I’ve been following your journey. I admire you immensely. My thoughts often turn to you. This conversation you had with Isabella is pround. From my experiences working with young children dealing with death, surviving children often handle a sibling’s passing with more despair than first apparent. I love that you have opened the dialog with your lovely daughter…that she can express how she feels at any point. Giving the opportunity to express through conversation and art will help her heal. Keep in mind that a child can feel loneliness and guilt that their playmate has left them…I pray for your family. Your service to the world through your ministry inspires.

  8. Maria and Cody, Please know we will be lifting up Isabella in a special way. We have always prayed for her along with the 2 of you because we know how hard it must be on her. However, I thank you so much for allowing us to peer into your windows and understand a little better how to pray for all of you. You are all so precious!

    you’re loved!! Missy and family

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