When our kids were little, they wanted to know why we left home every morning and what we did all day. We explained to them that I was an English teacher and that Jimmy was a lawyer. Ryan, Rhett, and Mara were satisfied with that answer, but our middle son Rhett misunderstood Jimmy’s job description. He had no idea what a “lawyer” was, so he assumed we were saying “warrior.” He was so proud that his dad was a “warrior,” and he began saying that he wanted to be a warrior when he grew up too! We thought it was cute when he made that innocent statement.
But maybe Rhett knew something we didn’t know, because Rhett indeed became a warrior. In his short fifteen years, he fought for justice. He battled for acceptance for his peers. He fought for kindness and protected the underdog. His battle cry was love and his weapon of choice was joy and laughter. He never backed down from a worthwhile challenge. Rhett’s earthly life ended on December 28, 2015. The tragic events of that day waged a war on my heart as his mother, but I have no doubt that Rhett is now a warrior in Heaven with Jesus.
As a mother, losing a healthy child in a tragic accident launched me into a fierce battle. There is something so devastating about burying a child that was once in your womb. I used to think you got to “pick your battles,” but I’m not that naive anymore. I would never have chosen this battle. The tour of duty for a bereaved mother is not for the weak. There is no “warrior” training for a catastrophic war of this magnitude.
Instead of a battle cry, I cried over the battle of losing Rhett. I have wanted to surrender to the overwhelming grief on many occasions. Despair, bitterness, loneliness and fear are my constant enemies, and they are strategically placed on the battlefield. I have to armor up daily to face those battles. Being a warrior is hard work; it’s not easy to choose faith and hope when you are brutally wounded. I wish that being a “warrior” came as easy for me as it did for Rhett. My husband and children have all proven to be tough warriors. They courageously battle the brokenness and strive daily to live with love and honor for their favorite warrior.
Rhett’s untimely death prevented him from growing up, but it did not keep him from being the warrior he was destined to be. My battle cry now is that I can become the warrior that I was destined to be. In reality, we are all warriors facing battles in this game called life, and our only hope for victory is that Jesus is willing to fight for each of us. As I continue to struggle and grow on this journey through grief, I find myself saying the same thing Rhett did whenever he was little. . . “I want to be a warrior when I grow up too!”
I wrote this article for a new magazine in the Central Texas area called Modern Texas Living. (July 2017)
Pick up a copy of this magazine around Waco and check it out!
And as always, if you like what you read on my blog, share away on your social media platforms! ❤