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This is not the type of book any man wants to write. In order to compose a book of this subject matter, one would have to experience incredible loss, bone wrenching sorrow and deep despair. This was not a choice I made. This was not the journey I had in mind when I set for myself goals and woke up every morning with ambitions to do great things. These words were written because God allowed me to experience a loss greater than the heart can handle. I would have to endure the loss of my child; my one and only son, Trent Alexander Madison due to a heroin overdose.
The beginning of “The Other Side of The Earth”
Emerson wrote, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.” Then I must be my son because I think about Trent all day long. A child is irreplaceable! The death of a child is indescribable!
On this journey I first traveled to Nashville, Tennessee in order to uncover the reason God allowed this sorrow to come to the footsteps of my family’s front door. It started with five friends, years ahead of me in their own world of personal loss and grief that shared with me their own heartfelt experiences in order to bring me comfort. From their strength, I would be able to raise my head and face my greatest fear, returning to the Pawleys Island where twenty-two years of family vacations was my favorite place on earth. Now I was making another trip to the beach, yet this time without my son. It was the “empty beach chair” that I dreaded mostly facing. Yet, in order to begin any form of recovery, I would have to walk alone on Pawleys shores one more time.
I realized for the first time in my life what unrecoverable sorrow was truly all about. I realized that grief can actually reach down to a bone deep level where only brief spurts of uncontrollable weeping help bring momentary comfort. There were no words, friends or Scriptures that eased my grief. This was how I lived in the early months following Trent’s death.
I ended this journey by taking Trent’s ashes to the top of Mount Sinai. After two days of praying and fasting in early November of 2013, I was led to take this trip. My son, Trent, loved high places and I could not think of a greater mountain site to take our last trip together and to honor his memory. To stand on the “mountain of God” where once God gave Moses the Ten Commandments provided me with a moment of healing. Trent would have thought this was cool trip!
Now, I would live the remainder of my life with the intent of trying to “finish strong”. I was constantly learning to accept what had occurred and I desired to provide hope to those who entered the world hopelessness and despair, the road I once ventured.
I pray this story of a fathers love for his son will encourage you to continue on when all seems lost. You have a story too, and now I challenge you to “grow from your sorrows” and to help others that God brings down your path.