When the Night is Dark

BY IN Addiction Stories, Faith 4 COMMENTS ,

Four years ago on March 25, at Twelve O’Clock midnight I stood in the dark, at a gravesite, with my sister. I was surrounded by a group of people sitting cross legged on blankets and slouched in lawn chairs, chilled by the dark night’s gentle breeze. Soft spoken whispers accompanied the chattering. But then there was stillness, as we remembered why we had each come to this place.

ARC Martin Daley moon in trees

I glance at my sister, Angel, seeing the deep pain behind her soft brown eyes. Eyes full of compassion and deep love for her only child and son, Jason. Jason had died ten years earlier at this particular time while on business in Puerto Rico. Friends and family had gathered to remember the ten year anniversary of my nephew and his friend Shane, who died together in a motor vehicle accident.

Why would I stand at a gravesite, at twelve midnight, when the night is darkest, with my sister?

Because my sister asked me to.

And because I love her.

And because that’s what sisters do. They stand together when the night is dark.

Four months later, after Jason tragically died, the night was dark again.

My older sister, Mona, would too experience the loss of a son. Fourteen year old Brock, battled stomach cancer for a year. One day he was fine, the next, gone in the blink of an eye. Death had visited our family again. We stood grief stricken, along with her husband and other sons, in unbelief at the loss of this precious young life.

When yet another night of darkness visited, my oldest sister Theresa, lost her baby son Christopher,  just weeks into his young life. Only to be followed several years later by the death of her oldest son David. Two dark nights she has endured.

As the darkness fell, and as each of my three sisters grieved their losses, I stood observing.




And praying, “God, don’t let this be one of my children.” The excruciating emotional pain my sisters endured was heart wrenching to watch. Secretly, I was relieved, because, death had passed over my children.

There is deception in this false sense of comfort. Thinking you are in the clear, and death would never come to snatch your child. As I had built a comfy cushion around this imaginary theorization, truth came knocking, shattering the lie.

For about four years, God had been preparing my heart for the day my own son would die. Gently making His presence known, speaking His Word into my life, collecting all my tears in His bottle as I begged, prayed, and bargained with Him to deliver and spare my son from the evil snare of addiction and death.

But my son Gabriel died, despite my pleading. Even though Gabriel died, God still answered my prayer.

He did spare Gabriel’s life.

He did deliver my son.


By the atoning power of  Christ’s death on the cross. And his resurrected life. Breaking the power of death once and for all. By Christ sacrificing His life, and exchanging His life for my son’s. Because of such a sacrificial love, Gabriel lives restored to newness of life. Christ imputed His righteousness to my son. And because of this, Gabriel stands right before God, covered by the blood of the sacrificial lamb.




Free from the wickedness of addiction.

As the Word of God teaches: To all who believe, to all who receive, God gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

I am so grateful Gabriel believed & Gabriel received this gift of everlasting life (John 3:16).

Even though there is tremendous hope in the resurrection, and a glorious restoration of my son Gabriel, this has still been the longest, darkest night.  And for us four sisters who have experienced loss of our sons, we have needed each other as we stand arm in arm together weeping but holding firmly to the hope which Christ offers.

Blessed beyond measure and filled with overflowing gratitude for all my eight siblings who continue to stand together and hold each other up when the night is dark.

I don’t know who you are or know your dark night experience, but I know this, Christ’s sacrifice and His death allows each of us to turn to Him, in faith alone, and to approach God’s throne of grace, in our dark night, seeking to bask in the light and hope found in Christ. Knowing He made a way  for us, out of the dark night.

When has the night been dark for you?



  1. Cindy Wilhem |

    Arlene, once again your blog brought me too tears. I weep for your loss and at the same time I have tears of gratefulness that my son was able to walk out of the darkness of addiction into the light of hope & healing. For today, for now.
    My family has endured many losses also but loosing a child is the greatest pain of all. I stood beside my sister-in-law & brother-law just a couple of years ago as the Doctors turned off the life support of my sweet niece Kelley whom I loved dearly. She had just celebrated her 40th birthday when days later she had an asthma attack, couldn’t breath & was without oxygen for over 10 mins. She lay in a comma for over a week as her medical team frantically tried everything to revive her, to no avail. She had got up that morning ready to work her night shift as a nurse in the ER, soend time with her husband & 2 teenage children and a few hours later, with a blink of an eye, she was gone. Those days spent in the ER with Kelly were some of my darkest hours. I had also experienced these feelings over a longer period of time when cancer took my only Sister home to her Heavenly Father at the young age of 48.
    These experiences have helped me to enjoy life one day at a time & celebrate all the blessings God gives me every day. I’m grateful for every minute Patrick is clean & sober. I’m grateful my family is beginning to heal from all the pain addiction has caused us.
    I’m so grateful God brought you into my life. You are one the strongest women I know. Your faith in God radiates to everyone you meet. Again, my heart weeps with yours dear friend but I also rejoice with you for the gift God gives all of us who believe – everlasting life in his Kingdom! What an awesome gift! Hugs sweet friend!

    • shyrice |

      Hi Cindy,
      Always good to hear of those walking out of the darkness into the light. Your story and Patrick’s sobriety brings a smile and much joy. I am sorry for the dark nights you have had to endure in losing your precious niece and sister.
      Even in the darkness, Christ’s light still shines through. Always reminding ourselves one day we get them back…in wholeness and more glorious way. My mind can not fathom this beauty and this promise, incomprehensible.
      Thankful God made a way and in the end, there is a bigger picture.
      Grieving with hope, even though it is really tough at times.
      Thank you for your kind words. I believe our paths have crossed for a purpose.

  2. shyrice |

    Gina, I am so sorry for your loss. This truly is the longest, darkest night. I pray you would find the peace and hope to comfort your aching heart. If not for my faith in Christ, I seriously could not endure this darkness. There does beam a ray of hope and consolation believing I will see my son again on the other side of eternity. Christ offers this same hope to all who would receive and believe. Turning from our own way and following one who leads us out of the dark into the light of His love. Grace and much love to you.

  3. gina demaria |

    BEAUTIFUL I too lost my sin to addiction, I am some how comforted by your words, and hope my son is also whole and suffers no more


So, what do you think ?