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  • Rachel

The "what ifs"

I really enjoy listening to podcasts. Even before Raelyne passed away, I had a few favourite ones, that I would listen to regularly, while doing mundane chores, working on projects or driving. After Raelyne died, I stopped completely. I would just sit in silence for hours at a time. Not doing anything. At the time, I think that’s what I needed. I needed less noise coming into my head because I already had too much to handle. Eventually, I started listening to worship music for hours on end. I found comfort in it. And I still do. I need noise now, instead of silence. And now, I’m back to listening to podcasts again. Recently, I’ve started doing it a whole lot more than before. Not the ones I used to. I’m not the same person and I don’t have anywhere near the same needs as I once did. But I’ve found new ones. One of my absolute favourite podcasts is Grieving Parents Sharing Hope. For anyone who has lost their child or are walking alongside someone who has, I highly recommending listening to this one. Laura and Dave have a fulltime ministry walking alongside those who have experienced the same loss they did: losing their child. My mom ran across this podcast a few days after Raelyne passed away and told me about it. It took me a few weeks until I listened, but I am so glad I did. Their podcast has brought me out of some really dark places. It is so real. So honest. And constantly brings everything back to God. I’ve spent many hours, crying in the shower, while I listened to Laura. Listened to her experience and how God helped her and continues to help her. Giving me hope. And maybe another day, I will share how their ministry and podcast has helped me. Brought me out of some dark places. Helped me feel not so alone. But today, I want to share about another experience I had.

Today, I started listening to a new podcast that I have had on my list for a few weeks. The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast. Something stuck out in the episode that I listened to. Something that I find very impactful.

The “what ifs” hurt. I think that anyone who has lost a child, probably has experienced this. Regardless of the circumstances or age of the child, there are always the “what ifs”. I have tried to avoid them. Tried to focus on the thought that with the information that I had at the time, I would not have done anything different. I did everything possible, that I knew of, at the time to help Raelyne. Even though most days it doesn’t feel like it, as a mother, I did everything to protect her. To make the right decisions. To get her the help that she needed. Most days I can eventually convince myself that this is true. Logically looking back on the situation, I know that I made the right decisions in the moment.

But the “what ifs” still come. What if I gave my mom her health card when she went to visit in September and mom took her to the hospital? What if I insisted that the ER admit her, the first time we went? What if we left the cottage early on Thanksgiving and took her to Belleville or Kingston, instead of London? What if I pushed harder those first few days in the hospital, to get the specialist referrals? What if I asked more questions before her procedure? What if I researched the doctor who was performing the procedure? What if we didn’t rush getting the procedure done and waited for a few days? What if I insisted her doctors tell me all their differentials? What if covid restrictions weren’t a thing and both Dave and I were present, when the doctors talked to me, giving me the options and next steps? What if Dave was there for the majority of the time, instead of me? The list can go on and on. The list of what if I did something differently, so the outcome could be different.

While I listened to the podcast today, they shared Psalm 140:16. “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (NLT).

Psalm 140:16. “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed”

The truth: God knew. God knew that October 22, 2021 was Raelyne’s last day on Earth. The day she went to eternal home, Heaven. And nothing was going to change this. It was written in His book, before she was even born.

It’s a hard truth. My daughter was only ever going to live 22 months and 22 days. That was always the plan. But it also means that there is nothing that I could have done. All the “what ifs” are out the window. No matter what I did, she was never going to live on Earth beyond October 22, 2021. This was always in the plan, and this was always going to be the way it was. Regardless of what I did.

This is a truth that I’m going to try and hold to, when the “what ifs” pop into my head. The “what ifs” don’t matter. No matter what I did to try and get answers. To help her. To heal her. The end was always going to be the same. I couldn’t have done anything to change the outcome.

In the same podcast, they shared Isaiah 57: 1-2. “Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die” (NLT).

Raelyne is at peace. She is in Heaven. She is safe. She is cared for and protected.

Does it hurt less? No. My heart will long for Raelyne for the rest of life. I miss her every single day. I cry every day, longing for her. With death, comes grief for those left here on Earth. These truths don’t stop me from grieving. They don’t stop my heartache. But they help me stay out of that pit of darkness. They give me hope. Hope that this pain and grief won’t last forever. Raelyne is at peace, in Heaven. There was nothing that could have stopped her from dying. But one day, I too, will be at peace in Heaven. My pain, grief and heartache, will continue while I am living this life. But my eternal home is Heaven. And there, this pain and sorrow will end and I will be at peace. And until my day comes, I can know that regardless of my actions, Raelyne's days were already recorded. There was nothing I could have done to keep her here longer. And although she isn't here, she is at peace, in Heaven.

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