Wende Parsley and Ethan, a mother's grief

Wende and Ethan

Two years and counting. My friend Wende continues to grieve the loss of her son Ethan. In the spring of 2010, an aneurysm in Ethan’s brain – caused by Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) – ruptured and Ethan woke up in Jesus’ presence. (Wende and Ethan’s story is featured in “Unshakeable Faith” but you can also read it here.)

Recently, Wende sent me a poem she wrote on the first anniversary of Ethan’s death. It’s emotional, honest, and hopeful. Although grief sometimes seems to take on a life of its own, God is faithful to work through it to shape and strengthen us. Wended graciously shares her poem of grief with us today.

“Grief” by Wende Parsley

It is always there
This thick, grey ball of feeling just behind my face.
It travels down through me and connects with my soul,
There are traces in every cell
Daring to seep out.
Impossible to hold in.
Everything is colored by it
Forever changed.
Some days, even one small, negative word pulls it forth.
At other times, it bubbles out freely, slowly
Always replenished by a seemingly never-ending pool.
This is a gift from God.

Eventually, as it lightens and loosens,
Small burrows are left behind.
Places for new.
It is a way to forever keep what has been so lost
Inside of me forever.
Replacing parts of my being with tiny pieces of joy,
Spiritual remnants left on earth by my son.
This is a gift from God.

Tragedy and suffering become glory.
The worst in me will be transformed
Into something worthy.
Gifts passed on are more purposeful now.
The legacies of others flourish in me,
As if my struggle has made them stronger, greater,
More permanent.
This sorrow will matter.
It will bring a new brightness to the world.
This is a gift from God.

Wende sees God’s hand in her grief. She sees Him working in it to transform her worst into something worthy. She recognizes God’s work to be a gift to her in the midst of her grief. Thank you Wende for sharing your grief with us.

How have you seen God work in the midst of your grief? What did He teach you that you can share with us?

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