After you go through suffering, really any type of significant suffering, I think all of us just want to know that what we’ve been through matters. That every tear we’ve cried and every ache in our heart, won’t be in vain. That the death of our loved one wasn’t for nothing, that something good or significant has come of it or will come of it.
Ever since my brother died, I wanted to use my experience to help others. I felt this burning inside that I wanted to share John’s story. However, I felt that many people were interested in my parent’s story, but not many people seemed to care about a sibling’s story. No opportunities seemed to come my way. I even wrote into different publications and they were never recognized. Even recently, I told someone about my brother dying at Columbine and they said, “Wow, I would love to hear your parent’s story.” While I know this person never meant any ill intent, it just verified what I had felt the last almost two decades. I researched sibling support and did a little bit with a support group and a camp for grieving kids but I couldn’t share my hope in Christ there, and I have a hard time telling my brother’s story and Joshua’s story without mentioning the greatest factor in how I’ve healed and continue to heal.
I heard all of these other people saying that God brought all these opportunities into their lives to talk about their story or write about their story and I wondered what God was wanting me to do since nothing seemed to come my way and the efforts I made seemed to come back void. I felt stuck not even knowing where to start. I started questioning my intent, thinking that maybe my heart was in the wrong place.
Maybe a part of my desire was that I was seeking validation that my grief mattered.
I always came back to the fact though that I truly did want to use my experience to somehow help others and give them hope. I came across a quote by Maya Angelou that described what I felt perfectly. It said,
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
That’s one reason I started this blog. After all, we’ve been through with Joshua and his death, that fire has reignited. Andy feels it too.
We want to share our story, our hope. We want to be a support to others experiencing one of the greatest heartaches of this life.
We want to share God’s provision. I don’t yet know how God will use Joshua and his sweet short life but I know He already has and I pray He continues to. I pray that maybe Andy and I can give just a little bit of hope to those who feel overwhelmed in their own situations. I’ve had people ask if they can share my blog with others that may be able to relate to our situation. To that I say, please do! There is nothing Andy and I want more than to be able to use our pain and our son’s sweet life to help others.
We all have a story to share and what a shame it would be to keep it to ourselves.
-Ashley Glader, mom to Joshua
Other articles by Ashley:
“To the Parents Without the Happy Ending”
“A Lifetime Lived In One Year”