The Boy I Raised
Guideposts|April 2021
Is anything greater than a mother’s sorrow?
KAY KOESER STRINGHAM

It is spring—the world around me slowly reawakening, blushing with early blooming azaleas— but I don’t feel its promise. As I drive through my neighborhood on my way to perform in my church’s Easter production, I feel only the darkness that has been hovering over me for weeks, that has threatened to overwhelm me every spring since I lost my six-year-old son, Jeremy.

It was spring when he died, hit by a car as he was riding his bike just a few blocks from home. Six years have passed, and most of the time I am able to drive down the street where he was killed and not think about what happened. But now I can’t help remembering how the sunlight filtered through the unfurling leaves that afternoon in 1992 when Jeremy left our house on his bicycle, zipping down the driveway for what would be the last time.

I shake my head, as if I can dispel the memories crowding my mind, and try to focus on the evening’s performance, the final one, in which I will play Mary at the foot of the cross, singing a song of mourning for her dead son.

Several months ago, the director of the Easter production had come to me and asked if I would play the part. She knew about Jeremy, and she’d said with great tenderness, “I know it will be very hard for you, but you can do it. The Lord will use you.” There was no pressure—I could have said no. But I had prayed so many times for the Lord to help me make sense of my grief, to turn it into his glory. How could I refuse?

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