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Her Death Changed My Life - Losing a Child

Fifteen years ago today I became a different person. When my oldest daughter died, part of me did, too.

Terri Hitt with daughter Jaime

I admit, I have a long way to go, and I'll never achieve my goal this side of Heaven. But on the day my oldest child died, I truly started living in light of eternity.

Before, I only thought I did.

As Christians, we think we live in this world, but are not part of it. We think we hold things we love loosely, but with thankfulness. Sometimes we even fool ourselves into thinking that if we follow Christ with our whole heart, the really bad things might not happen, but they do. In fact, Jesus told us they would occur in this fallen world.

Although I already knew, loved, and served Jesus, on that day, I felt the mercy and grace of our Heavenly Father at a much deeper level. I experienced God, rather than simply interpreting His Word. He is bigger and more loving than the human mind can imagine. He is personal and intimate. He knows exactly where we are in need of Him and how to reach us.

My biggest fear had always been losing a child, but once it happened, I learned that the worst thing that could ever happen to me would be to lose Christ, which will never happen.

My daughter introduced me to motherhood when I was only 18. We use to tease each other about growing old together since we wouldn't be that far apart in age. We laughed about her being 60 when I was 78, and suddenly the ages didn't seem old anymore. Now I'm 63 and she's supposed to be 44. The last time I hugged her, my daughter was only 29.

Jaime with Marissa

Now, most of my life has been lived without my oldest daughter, but she has made an impact on me every day since I met her almost 45 years ago. I know it's a small token, but I wear the ring I selected the week she died and I wear it like a wedding band on my right hand. It proves she was here. She mattered. Her life consisted of more than a mere 29 years. Jaime hadn't even lived long enough to truly find herself yet.

Motherhood and mindset coach Terri Hitt with older daughter Marissa Hitt

While I don't need the ring to remember her, (my heart does that duty every day on its own), the band signifies the way our story will always be intertwined, how different, and how alike we sometimes were. Although I haven't heard her voice in 15 years, my memory stirs the sound well when I glance at the ring on my finger. I see her light-up-a-room smile and hear her laughter that drew everyone in.

Mothers, hold your children tight. No matter how old they are, raise them to live with a perspective focused beyond this world so you will one day see them again. Make your days matter because you never know when your last one - or theirs will come. Find your relationship with Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I guarantee that no matter what this world may bring you, He will be there. The Holy Spirit residing within you will fill you, guide you, and guard you like nothing else can. You will be equipped to face each day with a joy beyond this world and hope that is everlasting.

Until I see you again, Jaime...and feel your sweet arms embrace me with a greeting right after Jesus.

Jaime photograph

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