Today, (Oct. 23, 2020) is the one year anniversary of the passing of Toby Mac’s oldest son Truett. I cannot imagine what it takes to deal with this kind of heart breaking loss all the while still having to maintain a public persona in which people look to you to get them through their problems.
However, if anyone was built to handle this pain and still love on people it would most certainly be Toby Mac. With the passing of Truett still way too fresh, he had this offering for an audience in LA.
Sadly, Toby and Amanda are not the only parents to have experienced this kind of unthinkable loss. Debbie Witten, who listens to our radio show, knows this pain first hand. She heard us talking about losing a child and said losing her own sweet Kristina placed her in a club she never wanted to be part of, but she wants to help others on this journey. She shared something with me she had written after the loss of her Kristina. It is a gut-level honest look at what it feels like to lose a child and how those of us who have not lost a child can help those who have.
“This is What I Wish People Knew About Losing a Child”
1. Remember my daughter.
Please don’t shy away from talking to me about Kristina. I want the world to remember my daughter and all parents want you to remember their child no matter how young or old that child was. If you see something that reminds you of Kristina, tell me! I am missing her much more than you are so please bring some sunshine to my day by talking about her with me.
2. Accept you can’t fix me.
Losing a child is an out-of-order death that can break a person in a way that is not fixable – ever! Every grieving parent must find a way to continue to live with this loss, it’s a solitary journey. Please don’t tell me, “It’s time to get back to life.” Or “That is has been long enough, when are you going to get over this?” (yes, I have been asked this). Time does NOT heal all wounds. Time allows you to live with it. I appreciate your support and hope you can be patient with me as I find my way.
3. Know that there are two days I will need extra grace.
I still count birthdays and fantasize what Kristina would be like if she were still living. Birthdays are especially hard for me. My heart aches to celebrate with Kristina as I did the day she arrived into this world and into my heart.
The anniversary date of when Kristina went home brings back deeply emotional and painful memories. The days leading up can feel like impending doom or like it’s hard to breathe. This is where the process of remembrance can help.
4. Realize I struggle with happiness everyday.
It’s an ongoing battle to balance the pain and guilt of outliving Kristina with the desire to live in a way that honors her and her time on earth. I am constantly balancing holding onto grief in one hand and a happy life after losing her in the other hand. Don’t walk away – lean in and love me through it.
5. Accept the fact that my loss might make you uncomfortable.
You may not know what to say or do, and you are afraid you might make me lose it. It’s OK if I cry. Cry with me and never say, “I am sorry I made you cry.” I would rather lose it because you spoke her name and remembered Kristina, than if you try to shield me from the pain and live in denial allowing me not to heal. Tears are healing even the ugly tears.