March 2, 2013 – Turn Back Time

Recently, we were talking with Jacob about his now departed sister and answering several questions that he traditionally asks about Hannah. It was an emotional moment that quickly became even more emotional. After our discussion, he looked at us square in the eyes and said “I wish we could turn back time”! Tears immediately came to my face and was totally overwhelmed. I do too Jacob, I do too, I said to him.

The past 2+ years for us have been quite simply the most challenging and discouraging of our lives!  We encountered trials of severe life & death health issues, friendships evaporating, “Pharisee” not “Jesus” treatment in the religious community, strained family relationships, financial hardship, occupational stress and tremendous emotional pain that at times is unbearable!

We’ve experienced what one true friend explained is “Mountain Walking Syndrome”.  Those people that will walk with you only when you are on the mountain of life, healthy, wealthy and wise!  Happy, happy, happy but also disturbingly shallow. The first sign of turbulence, they are gone! We’ve had literally people hide in grocery stores from us rather than to talk with us! Heard from another that they didn’t want to see us as it was too hard for them as the sight of us, made them too sad!

Don’t get me wrong, we have had “Valley Walkers” – those rare people that unconditionally will walk with you during the depths and valleys of life. And to those people, we are eternally grateful! And they know who they are! Amy, Jacob and I sincerely thank you! You are the arms and feet of our Lord here on Earth!

What did we do to the “Mountain Walkers” to deserve this? Our daughter developed liver cancer and died 32 days later. Not sin against people although we definitely are sinners. No, our daughter died. That’s it. “Ooops, that’s sad, let’s get the heck out of here”….. And that’s sad.

I don’t believe in karma but one friend pointed out that even when people don’t believe in karma, they still actually treat others going through trials like they do.  So the death of my daughter, is going to cause grief in your family?  So, actually reaching out and helping those in need, is going to cause you to develop suffering?  People especially those cultural Christians in the Bible Belt, will tell you that they will be praying for you, but to actually be like our Lord Jesus, not so much… Too hard, too messy, too much time consumed in their busy lives.  The list goes on….

Are these examples of “bad” people?  No, not at all.  They are just ignorant and do not know what to do and do not know what it is like to go through one of the worst things a human can experience, which is the loss of a child.   In their worlds of “biblical” knowledge and “good” works, they can’t understand unless they actually walk in the shoes of the suffering person and they choose not to!

I don’t want this to be just a rant that many will say “oh, bless his sad heart”; he’s so bitter due to the death of his daughter”.  Let us pray….

No, the reason for sharing this truth is twofold:

The first is that this blog (that we felt that Jesus called us to write) is to help those going through similar circumstances and to share truth with them what to expect and how to overcome. If we would have had a source to read, our expectations would have been lowered, decisions would have been different and overall our post-death experience would have been not as devastating! We’ve read unbelievable amounts of “grief” information, we’ve attended counseling, we’ve reviewed videos of grief experts, etc and the majority of them focus on THIS WORLD and how to survive or make your remaining days “productive”.  Self Help for Sad People…. There are also several organizations created by parents who’ve lost a child that are focused on a cause to eliminate the source of their child’s death or to help in dealing with death in THIS WORLD. All good things with valid and good intentions. However, our calling and reason for the blog is to not focus necessarily on improving THIS WORLD but to share the Good News of the eternal world – HEAVEN and the eternal life saving message of Jesus Christ. Who came to this world to die for our sins so we could have ETERNAL LIFE! Yes, we want to have a better life here at Earth our remaining days but even if we don’t, we have HOPE that our future is secure and WE WILL BE REUNITED WITH BOTH JESUS and our beloved daughter!

The second main reason is to be there for others in a personal and real way as they go through the grief process. We’ve had several well meaning people sending us scriptures or books or even a card from a church that said “now you will hopefully come to the Lord with the death of your daughter”.  Yes, we really got a card like that! But rarely did we have anyone present with us. Easier I guess to send a card then to get dirty and actually help. Cards are fine but nothing beats personal interaction with people going through literally hell! We however want to be there in the present for others if the Lord leads.  Jesus wept with others grieving. And we want to listen, weep and be there for others Lord willing. Our goal is to be authentic, deep “Valley Walkers” and to bring encouragement and Hope to those who are grieving the loss of a precious child!

Our overall blog viewership has dropped dramatically which is fine for us as the “voyeurs” drop out. More importantly, we’ve had several parents who have or potentially will be in the grief process reach out to us from literally throughout the world. This blog is for them. If we can help in any way possible, please, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear your story, weep with you, pray with you and unconditionally be there for you!

The first few paragraphs of this blog, I described what the emotional life has been like for the Hasslen family since Hannah died but want to let you know that there has been one constant GREAT EXPERIENCE – which has been God. Not the generic “God” that seems to be prevalent in our society but the true Triune God – Father God, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit! Experiencing the actual LOVE and OVERWHELMING PRESENCE OF OUR LORD!

Even though we’ve been in the valley of despair, He has been with us! He has sustained us! He has comforted us! He has walked through this with us and without Him, we are nothing! We have literally throughout this journey felt and experienced Love. We have several encounters to share in the future but the number one thing we can say in all honesty is that His promises are True!

While we can’t turn back time as Jacob innocently wished, We do have Hope in the future and look forward to spending eternity with Jesus and our precious daughter!  That is what this website is about and is what we call the Hope of Hannah! One question that I feel led to ask all of our readers – where is your Hope?

Thanks for reading and listening to a broken sinful man who is trying to live for the Hope of Jesus!

Bill

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