I love the song “Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. I used to have it as a ringtone on my cell phone. I took it off my phone in 2008 when my son, Lucas, passed away. I heard it every time someone called during those two weeks to check on Lucas’s progress, or to see how we were faring as we were living in the waiting rooms at the hospital.

Lucas didn’t get to come home with us when we left there. He had already left to be with his Father in Heaven. After that day, I had to take that song off my phone. I just didn’t think it was such a wonderful world anymore.

I had always thought it was a pretty wonderful world.

God has always given me a hopeful, thankful outlook on life, and I have enjoyed more blessings than I can count. That ringtone just described how I felt most of the time. We had our share of hurts, trials, and struggles, but I could always look at my children and their families and find many blessings.

Then, in July of 2008, one of those wonderul blessings was ripped from us. Lucas was 33 years old, and had been having some aches and pains. He had been in a minor car accident, and believed his aches were just due to some injury that wouldn’t quite go away. By June of that year, he was almost unable to work due to the pain. Doctors couldn’t find a problem. You don’t usually look for cancer in a strapping 33 year old man, who looked healthy and acted okay, except for the complaints of pain in his shoulders, and then in his hip.

By the beginning of July, he was having to rely on crutches, and decided to see an orthopedic doctor since no one else could help him. The doctor ordered an MRI, took one look at it, and told Lucas he needed to see a different kind of doctor. We got him in to an oncologist within 2 days, and within 2 weeks he left us. He died from complications during surgery, but those complications arose due to the cancer. My life would never be the same.

Lucas was my first child. He was also a husband and father. This was the child who made us laugh, and then made us cry, and brought so much joy into our young marriage. I could picture his curly little head, and remember the tears I cried when he was born. And now God had decided Lucas should be with him. No, it wasn’t such a wonderful world. Even now, two years later I break down in tears as I remember his life and his death. That is not the end of the story, though.

God has allowed me to cry, to scream at him, to mourn, to remember. He has surrounded my husband and me with loving, supportive families. We still have our other children, their families, and we still get to see Lucas’s wife, her new husband, and our grandchildren. Friends have walked alongside us, cried with us, and been there with a hug, a special word or a card. I got to attend a grief support group with a special friend who had lost her husband. I have been able to walk with others who have had losses in their family.

Through our families, friends and church, God has brought laughter back to our hearts. I believe we are more caring and compassionate due to our loss. Helen Keller once said, “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”

Yes, Lucas will always be a part of my heart and soul. I will always miss his love, his smart alek remarks, his smile. I will continue to cry, to sometimes be angry, to mourn, and to draw strength from others who have walked this same path. And I have changed the ringtone on my phone again. It goes, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

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Laura Klouzek

Laura Klouzek and her husband live in rural Missouri. They are the parents of five children and grandparents of six. We were foster parents for 12 years. Laura currently works in the court system for the State of Missouri. Her son, Lucas, died in July of 2008 after a short fight with cancer. His death and her journey through grief have prompted her to help others through her writing.

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