Upside Right

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Have you ever received a phone call that turned your world upside down, inside out and forever changed your life?


As a parent, particularly as a mother, we worry about those calls when our children are young and are outside playing. We wonder, will a car hit them, will something unfathomable happen to them or will we get that dreaded phone call. Then they start driving, and Heaven forbid, they are late, oh my goodness, they’re late! Something devastating has happened says our mind. Worry creeps – or leaps – in. Off to college they go and then out into a life of their own.

We may or may not receive that dreaded phone call. Yet what happens when you do? I’m speaking from experience as I did.

On a magnificent March morning in 2008, my husband and I were shopping for garden ornaments for the yard. It was a spectacular day.

My cell phone rang about 10:15 as we were checking out with a new arbor. On the end of the line was my older son Matt wailing into the phone, “Kyle died last night. Kyle died last night.”

How can your older son tell you your younger son died and your world not turn every which way but upside right?

I felt like the earth opened and I fell into a big black abyss. Everything was amiss in that moment and for the rest of my life. All I knew to ask was HOW do I stand up for I’d fallen to my knees with that dreaded phone call every parent imagines yet prays they never receive. I pray you never receive a call with news of a wreck, a death or any other catastrophic information.

Yet here’s the truth. On the morning of Kyle’s service – I can’t even say funeral – service, I had a dream. In that dream, Kyle was dressed in his favorite Scooby Doo T-shirt, his blue jeans, and blazer because he was at an official hockey function. He was dancing way down low like the kids used to dance with their arms circling and in a deep squat position. Propped up against the wall were two hockey sticks, crossed at the top of the sticks. Mirror image to Kyle was Jesus dancing – just like Kyle!

When Jesus saw me, He turned to me and said, “This is to bring you great joy. I taught him how to dance, I taught him how.”

And my life changed once again, for I knew where my son was. He was with the One – the only One – His Name is greater than death. He is Jesus Christ.

And that’s how your world turns upside right once again. Jesus.

I pray you know Jesus. If not, please read John 3:16, for God loves you so much, He gave His one and only Son to turn your world upside right forever. That’s called eternity. Jesus came for one reason – to save you.

Have you received a call that turned your world upside down and inside out? See how one mom lost a son yet now lives upside right, restored and hopeful.

Oh, by the way, Susan received this picture she had never seen two days AFTER that dream of Kyle dancing. Her “forever 20” son Kyle would have been 30 on August 27 this year.

She and Holt celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary on September 1 – a rare thing for a marriage to last after losing a child. She celebrates the goodness of our mighty God.

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36 thoughts on “Upside Right

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss- that must have been so painful. But I love how God spoke to you in a dream and gave you exactly the comfort and hope that you needed.

  2. oh my goodness, every parent’s nightmare. I’m so sorry for your loss. But WOW…what a dream. And when I saw the picture, I got chills. I love the picture of Jesus dancing like that! Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us.

  3. I can’t even imagine getting a call like that, Susan. But I’m so glad that you’ve been able to honor your son’s life and legacy here at your blog. He truly is dancing on those streets of gold and I’m sure he can’t wait to show you a few heavenly dance steps someday as well. Praying for your sweet mama heart!

  4. Tears for the journey – tears of sorrow at the loss you’ve traveled through (and continue to travel through) and tears of joy at the Savior who carries us when the burdens are too heavy and who promises a future not only with the ones we love, but HIm! God bless!

  5. I’m so sorry for the pain of your loss… and thankful for your testimony of God’s sustaining grace.

  6. Susan, hearing your voice tell the story of your worst day imaginable, yet seeing how God has helped you not just survive but thrive in the aftermath is amazing. God bless and continue to use what the enemy meant for evil, for good and for God’s glory in your life.

  7. Susan, thank you for sharing your heart in such an open, honest, transparent post…we received one of those phone calls in 2009 when my dear 48 year old cousin, Patti, suddenly died of a heart attack…she was a loving wife, mom of two teenagers who taught wonderful Bible studies, that very week she taught on “Thy Will Be Done” from the Lord’s Model Prayer…the comfort is knowing she, too, is dancing with Jesus…we’ll join her soon at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Many blessings to you!

  8. Susan, I’ve received the phone call from my daughter telling me her fiance had been murdered – our family’s world literally stopped spinning. I received the phone call from my best friend telling me her son had been murdered in a triple homicide – I know the pain of those; but to receive the news that my very flesh and blood child was gone? I pray I never get THAT call. O God.

  9. As a mother, a black mother at that I lived in fear of getting the phone call. Then my focus changed – the fear of getting a phone call is always there but its not pervasive anymore. Thank you for being vulnerable with us.
    Stopping by from a linkup!!!

  10. Susan, your story brings tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine the pain you felt as you held the phone in your trembling hand. But I can imagine the GREAT JOY you will have when you join Kyle and Jesus in the dance party of eternity. Hugs, Susan!

    1. Yes Esther. It is the JOY that sustains us! Pure and simple, Jesus ROCKS! Cant you just envision THAT dance party in eternity???!!! Sweet….!
      Hugs, Susan

  11. Your testimony grips my heart every time I read it. Especially how God gave you that dream to sustain you through ALL the heartache on this earth. The hope of heaven, one day we shall see in person our loving Lord dancing with the ones we miss so desperately on earth. Thank you for sharing hope to the world through your book and ministry. Love you!

    1. Debbie, thank you for the love – that comes straight from God. I praise Him for comfort and joy – and tears that emote both! Hugs, sweet Debbie. Susan

    2. Debbie, thank you for the love – that comes straight from God. I praise Him for comfort and joy – and tears that emote both! Hugs, sweet Debbie. Susan

  12. I love how Jesus sustains us. How he turns our deepest sorrows into a sort of achy joy. The pain never goes away, yet we have hope to sustain us through all the ups and downs of life here on earth. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  13. Susan, I admire your openness about such a painful time. What a powerful testimony you have from the dream God gave you. Praying His comfort and peace for you on a difficult anniversary.

  14. Susan,
    What a testimony to your faith and the goodness of God to give you that image of your son dancing with Jesus. Praising that your marriage survived this tragedy and you’ve been able to share your story about surviving a phone call that no parent wants to receive.
    Blessings to you,
    Bev xx

  15. Oh, friend. My heart breaks for you, yet somehow I find it rejoicing. Rejoicing in the way that Jesus has kept your marriage, rejoicing in the truth you have held tight to, rejoicing in the beauty of sweet gifts like that dream and picture. I cannot imagine the heartache, yet I am standing with you looking for the rainbow.

    1. I’m looking and often finding that lovely rainbow with you too Becky! It’s not just a promise, its God’s covenant with us. Powerful. Hugs! Susan

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