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When the Lights Go Out

When the Lights Go Out

Years ago, on an April 2nd night, Rev. Henry Sheppard told me he thought I'd write a book one day about that night. He said the title should be "When the Lights Go Out." It's been over 22 years since that day. Andrew will soon have a birthday, and had he lived, he would be 32 years old this year.

I started this book a couple of times, but I never finished it. Since it's his birthday month, my goal is to finally complete the book. My prayer is that it helps others who grieve. Andrew was a beautiful soul. Earth did not deserve him; Heaven rejoiced in his arrival back home. But his mother has grieved for him every single night since he left her arms.

I do not share this for sympathy of others. But rather to help those who struggle with loss. To show how to forgive someone who you feel has taken everything from you. The loss I experienced was a personal loss. I could have easily allowed it to destroy my life, and at times I almost did, but I chose to rise above my own grief in order to be there for my husband and son (Gideon) and to help others who suffered similar tragedies in this life.

Here's what I do know. If you live in some past (even a past that is not your own), soon you will allow the evils of that past to overtake you. So, even though the lights go out for me every single night, and I think about my life in the dark... I see great brilliance and hope in what God continues to give me.

July 1, 2020

What do you think of when the lights go out?

When Bro. Sheppard told me his idea, well, the lights had not really gone out for me yet. I've since experienced 8,125 nights. And on each night, yes, the lights were finally turned out.

Nighttime for me is not really a time of extreme grief. I know for many it is. It is a time for me to think, plan, pray, and dream. I am a dreamer. I will admit it. Now don't get me wrong, I love to stay up late after Ray has gone to bed and finally have control of the remote. I'll admit that. But many nights I sit up and work, plan, write, and think.

I know for many grieving parents, nights are especially difficult. The quiet... the stillness... the dark... it almost reflects what you feel in your soul. But here's the thing with me. If I hear a noise in the dark... I must investigate. If I feel dark shadows, I must turn on the light so I can see what's going on. When darkness brings noises, I go see what they are. I'm nosey. Okay. There, that's out in the open. I do not deny it. I have the curiosity of a cat.

So, nights for me are different. I don't imagine Bro. Sheppard knew this about me when he spoke his words to me so long ago.

In the beginning, my nights were filled with sobbing, questioning, and extreme anger towards the person who I felt took my son from me. But that would last about 10-20 minutes, and then I would say to myself, "Sarah, this is not helping. Get yourself up and do something productive." I did a lot of praying. I was extremely worried about Ray and Gideon, so I did a whole lot of praying for them.

When the lights were out, and all others were asleep, I could feel God drawing me close to Him. He never once left me alone. Even when I was sobbing and asking "Why?" a thousand times. I could almost feel Him whispering a soothing "Shhh..." to me over and over. I knew He wanted to comfort me in my grief. It was what kept me sane.

There were some nights I was simply too exhausted to go through the ritual of grief, and on those nights I just fell asleep. But more often than not, I cried... silently as I could as not to wake Ray or Gideon, and I prayed. Then I would get up, go to the living room, sit down at my computer, and research, study, write, and just try to find reason. Try to understand what I had done wrong in life to deserve what happened to me.

Nights were the times I processed all that people said to me as well. I know people mean well when they talk to you, but no one will ever know how difficult it was for me to process all the things that were said to me through the years. I learned a lot about what to say and what not to say as I dealt with the hurt and pain others gave me without ever knowing it. I was actually thankful for the nights.

God used the nights to help me grow stronger through my grief and closer to Him. Grief is a very long journey. The textbooks write only what they think they know about it. I know it is different for every human being, but God knew that I needed nights... nights with him to recover.

So here I am 8,125 days stronger... tonight 8,126 times to think on God and my life, my trials, my worries, my aspirations. So, thank you, Bro. Sheppard! Thank you for planting a seed in my heart to focus on the nights... when the lights go out!

To Be Continued!