Mothering Well When Tragedy Strikes


Kim Jaggers talks about her husband's suicide and how it affected her role as a Christian mother.

Some days it seems like just yesterday. I don’t know if it is the feel in the air, but those painful emotions still seem close some days. Though so much time has passed, I can still hear the words of the detective as he told me, “We have found your husband’s truck. There is a body inside and visual identification is not possible.” What had been a happy, fairy-tale life had become a nightmare in the year preceding my husband’s suicide.

Through a series of tragic events–the very premature birth of our second son, the loss of our finances and our home, and constant stays at the hospital while our baby fought for his life, I grew closer to Jesus than ever before. Rick, on the other hand, turned to cocaine and became horribly addicted. A few short weeks after he made a profession of faith, during a life-threatening surgery for our second son, Rick drove to a warehouse owned by his company, filled his truck with carbon monoxide, and took his life. There was no note, but from receipts, I know he was using cocaine shortly before he died. At twenty-six, I found myself alone with two little boys ages three and one–the youngest of whom was fighting for his life.

I would be dishonest if I said there have not been hard days and many challenges. I have had to face some very tough questions from my kids like, “If he loved us why would he leave us?” and, “Was it my fault?” I have heard them say “I hate him, and I am glad he isn’t here.” I have seen both the boys suffer with shame resulting from Rick’s decision.  

They will tell you they have struggled with trust and forgiveness issues. It is a spiritual battle, and I know the enemy would love nothing more than to take my children down. On my own, I am no match for what comes at them from their past, from the world, and from the enemy. The enemy’s plans are to rob and kill and destroy (John 10:10). However, I know that I am not alone. He who is in me, He who chose me to be their mom, is stronger than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).   

I pray continually for God to help me help my children learn to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). The amazing thing is God has allowed us to talk and talk and talk it through. His Word has healed so much. My goal has been to continually refute the lies of the enemy and replace them with Truth.  

I want to raise soldiers who have been refined by fire, but don’t smell like smoke; who have been knocked down but know God is their strength to go on; who are better because of our hard days, not bitter. 

I believe nothing is impossible with God. I believe He is good, in control, and more than faithful. His Word is wisdom, direction, comfort, and peace . . . and where I run to for myself and for my children.

First, I had to come to terms with God on why my life had turned out like it had. How could God have allowed my situation to be what it is? God is good. God is sovereign. He allowed this hard thing to come into our lives. So, I had a choice: I could grow bitter and pull away from God, or I could choose to believe that He would use this hard thing to draw us closer to Himself and bring glory to His Name.  

Believing this truth made it easier to continually tell my kids the same. I often tell them, “God trusted you with this hard thing, and He is using it to strengthen you and help you to encourage others.” Of course, these conversations came as they were older and better able to process these things. When they were little—I never lied to my kids, but I only told them what was necessary and answered the questions only as they came.

As the years have passed, they have processed more and more of all that happened. I have worked diligently to keep the lines of communication open so we can talk through things and bring everything out into the light. I have constantly reminded them they have a perfect Heavenly Father who will never leave them or forsake them.

This post was written by Kim Jaggers.

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