If you’ve ever had a four-year-old in your life, you know how important the fifth birthday is. The turning point from four to five is more than just a number. It’s a whole hand. It’s half way to double digits. It’s a big deal.
Today is Julian‘s fifth Angelversary. He’s been gone a whole hand of years. And in those years, I’ve changed a lot. Things that were important to me before seem silly to me now. Things that I spend a lot of time thinking about now never crossed my mind back then.
After five years, I now know that forgiveness is a huge part of healing. It would be easy to rage against the fact that my son got cancer. I could be filled with anger that he got an infection that his body couldn’t fight. I could hold on to resentment that the doctors couldn’t fight it either. But I don’t.
Instead, I choose to forgive the unforgivable. I forgive the doctors for failing to locate and destroy the infection in time. I forgive the infection for invading his vulnerable body in the first place. I forgive the leukemia treatment protocol that destroyed his ability to fight the infection. I forgive the cancer for taking up residence in his blood. I forgive his human body for failing to keep his soul alive.
And perhaps most importantly, I forgive my own soul for choosing this path. What I know for sure is that grieving and healing are journeys of the soul. Just like life itself is a journey of the soul. We attend this Earth School, and we do our best with the curriculum we signed up for… and I do believe we signed up for this.
Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping sums up my beliefs perfectly:
“The World of Humanity is a spiritual classroom, and life is the curriculum. Our lessons are the events that happen in life. The objective is to awaken to the truth of who we are and return home.”
This powerful book goes on to confirm,
“Life is not random. It provides for the purposeful unfoldment of our own divine plan, with opportunities to make choices and decisions in every moment…. At the soul level, we get precisely what we need in our lives for our spiritual growth. How we judge what we get determines whether we experience life as painful or joyful.”
Five years ago, I felt nothing but pain. And yet, as the earliest posts on this blog indicate, I felt an instinctual pull toward finding joy again. I wouldn’t ever have imagined that forgiveness would be such a significant part of this process. And I’m grateful for the journey that led me here.
And my to my sweet angel Julian, I say: Thank you for everything you’ve taught me. Thank you for being my my guardian angel and my soul companion. High five, little one. We’re halfway to double digits on this divine plan.
March 3, 2016 at 6:54 pm
Precious words ! MaryLou Terwilliger❤️
Darlene and Tom Lund
March 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm
God has such mercy…he stands at the door for forgiveness and longs to hold you with Julian on your lap. You too have felt the pain that He felt with His Son on the cross…so you and John can lean on Him and that Julian is alive in Christ Jesus. Loving you. Tom and Darlene Lund
Leanne (Trebilcock) Avila
March 3, 2016 at 8:25 pm
Wishing you continued happiness and peace. Thinking of you and your family…
March 8, 2016 at 10:37 pm
I am a doctor and I came across your site while googling how to cope with a child’s death. A previously healthy 5 yo child that I saw, but did not have the chance to treat personally, rapidly deteriorated and died from overwhelming infection. Although I was not related to the child, I am deeply affected by the sudden loss of this child and am disturbed by the impact it would have on his parents. I am glad I found your site. It is full of hope and positivity and I sort of find comfort and solace in your writings to cope with this loss, even though it was never really my child or my loss.
Just wanted to say thank you and God Bless your family.
March 8, 2016 at 11:42 pm
Thank you so much for your note. It means a lot of to me to recieve this feedback, especially from a person in your position. Thank you
March 9, 2016 at 11:57 am
Beautifully written, as always. Still I shed a tear for Julian but I am also filled with Joy because of your words. Thank you.
March 12, 2016 at 2:54 pm
As always your words are profound and enlightening. Thank you, Emily! Years ago I read the chapter on children from the book “The Prophet” where Gibran writes “And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” In the big picture we do not know the path of our child. They have their own path as we have ours. We love, support, encourage, and care for our children as best we can, and then allow them to have wings. You were called to release Julian on this earthly plane too soon so he could have his wings as an angel. It appears that Julian’s and your paths continue to intersect just on different planes as the two of you, through your blogs, go to the heart of forgiving, releasing and creating a “new normal” life after loss.
Much love and gratitude to you, Emily, and much love and gratitude to you, Julian.
April 26, 2016 at 2:27 pm
Your positivity is inspiring. Some days I find it difficult to see through the anger but know joy is the only way forward. Your blog has given me hope through the darkness. Thank you xx
September 20, 2016 at 6:58 pm
Thank you so much for this post. I am just beginning this grief journey, as we just lost our 3.5 month old son on August 14, 2016. I came across your blog as I was looking for ideas for his memorial service (better late than never?) but I decided to keep reading a few more posts and I’m so glad I found this one. I have a lot of anger towards..well a lot of things – but I know that it serves me no purpose in this life. Your words are inspiring 🙂 THANK YOU.
September 24, 2016 at 7:59 am
I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through, Leah. You and I are now in a club that no parent ever wants to be a member. I’m glad you found inspiration in my words, and I wish you well as you create your own new normal, honoring the memory of your son as you move forward.