Friday, July 27, 2018

Like Drops of Oil on a Sandpaper Heart

"Like sandpaper grinding on sandpaper in my chest."  It's the description my Mother used to express the sorrow following Nathan's death—and a very descriptive one.

"Sandpaper Heart"— I've written it down as a song title. I have no idea at this point what the song will be about but it's such a picturesque word, I feel I must write a song about it. Until then....

The story of Nathan's death (her 2 year old son) continues in my mother's words:

"That night, (after Nathan drowned), I tossed and turned, was up and down; I could not sleep. I had never felt hurt and pain like that, and it was beyond what I thought I could sand paper grinding on sand paper in my chest. Finally, toward morning, the vision or dream came back to me—I had not thought about it until then—seeing our two families assembled in the basement of the church ready to go upstairs for a funeral.

Not long before Nathan's death, I had a dream or a vision, was I sleeping or awake? I saw plainly our two families—the Sollenberger and Heisey families in the basement of Air Hill church, waiting to be ushered upstairs for the seating at a funeral as was the custom...and I said in the dream—"That means there is someone in our family—Orville's and mine, that has died".

Cousins as pallbearers with funeral directors - walking to the cemetery of Air Hill Brethren in Christ Church, carrying Nathan.
When the day of the funeral came, there we were; the two families brought together just as I had seen it. I realized then that the dream of vision had been from God, trying to prepare my heart.

God again had gone before me to tell me He was in control—a drop of oil was dropped onto the sandpaper in my chest. I can't describe the comfort it brought, ever so delicate and gentle but so soothing. As the days passed, more drops of oil were administered, bringing the comfort that God has promised to those who mourn. I said, "Thank you Lord..this is all part of your plan"...and my burden was somewhat lightened.

Even though I was able to rest in God's will, we all took Nathan's death very hard. We had great sadness—it would take a long time to grieve. We couldn't help the question—why? why? why?—trying to make sense of what seemed senseless. Finally, with God's help we began to see that Nathan was a special gift to us for two years. His life was not snuffed out—it wasn't shortened. He lived his full allotted time and our home was the one blessed by his earthly visit.

We would often reminisce at the table, remembering the little clown that he was, how much joy he had brought our family. Nathan seemed to have been "loaned" to us for two years, and we had to give him back."

Nathan just a few days before his death.