Just look at that face. How can anybody get mad at that sweet little face? I’ll tell you why, because in the middle of life whirling around you like a tornado, moms can make mistakes. We are human, we are but dust. But the anguish of those mistakes is multiplied when you have no chance to take them back.

One of my biggest regrets is treating Tristan like he was being disobedient instead of realizing he had a mental illness. I yelled. I got to my wit’s end. I argued and had standoffs over important issues and some not-so-important issues.

Then I remembered something my mentor told me years ago. When you ask God for wisdom, He gives it. (James 1:5)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

God graciously allowed me to implement this during the last days of Tristan’s life. If Tristan was talking, I was praying silently “give me wisdom” over and over and over. It kept me from reacting in my flesh during specific moments where I just know I would have yelled or gotten into an argument I would have regretted after he died.

But what about all those times I wasn’t praying and I failed? God brings to mind the people Jesus chose to pour His life into and how they deserted Him in His agony. In the garden of Gethsemane when He needed them the most and specifically asked them to pray for Him, He found them sleeping from sorrow. They all fled when Jesus was led away by soldiers. Peter flat-out denied knowing Him. Fail, fail, fail, fail. And yet, these guys were the ones God ordained to be the guys.

Just like we were the ones God ordained to be our child’s mom. God knew ahead of time all the ways we would fail. And all of it was wrapped up in all the ways we didn’t fail. We loved them. They knew it. God used that love to be His hands and His feet to care for them.

God was gracious in allowing my husband and me to find a note on Tristan’s computer that he had composed over a number of days.  A Suicidologist said this about Tristan’s note: “Notes are considered rare and probably only about 20% of suicides have one. It is even more rare to find one so intended to reassure you both of his appreciation for all you did to help him survive.” That being said, Tristan was a writer, so I think that means a greater chance of leaving a note. I also think his feelings may represent a lot of children with mental illness who may just not have known what to communicate.  You can hear his note read aloud by his brother Greyson on the video of his memorial service.

Even though we failed our child at some point in their lives, the general tone they have for our job is thankfulness and love. Especially now that they are in heaven and know and are fully known. We can’t let the regrets weigh us down because God has provided a safeguard against that: confession. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Dear God,  please help me to remember when I am tempted to think about all the ways I failed Tristan, that he is not up there with You thinking about that. And You have cleansed me from ALL of my failures with him. They just don’t exist. Let your Holy Spirit prompt me to give that to You every time I am tempted to bring it up again. And please, just take it away. I can’t wait to see my boy. Now he is known and fully knows all the reasons for his story. Save me from myself. In Jesus name, Amen.