The grief journey takes us to unexpected places and hits us at all times of the day and night. I cannot tell you how many late night conversations I’ve had with those who made themselves available to me in the wee hours of the morning during the early days on this journey. I’m forever grateful.
This past week was a hard one for me, as it marked the year of loss for three dear friends who all left this earth on the same week in 2016. I thought not only of them and the void they left, but of their families and the loss I so well understood on the day their lives changed.
Then, right in the middle of this already hard week, I heard my phone buzz before the sun rose. I turned over and picked it up to see a message from a friend from my high school days. I’ve been blessed to have our friendship renewed, as our paths crossed once again since I started working at the library a few years back. Seeing her name on the message brought a smile to my face, because she is always smiling when I see her. Then I read the message…
Though it had been almost five days prior, she told me of the sudden passing of her dear husband and said: “It really hurts.”
I sat up in bed, knowing sleep would not return. You never want what you’ve experienced to happen to anyone else. Tears came to my eyes as I prayed for her, and then asked God: “What do I say to that?” The obvious came to mind, and I found my fingers typing: “Yes, my dear one, it does.”
Though no marks are left on the body, the death of a loved one — sudden or not — makes you feel like you’ve been shot. It simply takes the breath out of you. Because my husband was so much older than me, I can tell you that I thought about the moment I might have to one day face. How would I react? And, even though I thought about the experience, you can never be prepared for what you might do. I remember the cry of pain that came from me…never knowing I’d react in such a way, but it hurt so much. Death hurts.
Yet, while there is pain and anguish, that is not the end of the experience for a person who knows Jesus as Savior. When I think of my husband today, I don’t cry like I did that first moment of loss. God’s peace and comfort has helped to heal the wound and fill the void. Today, was a tough day for several reasons, and though I felt weak and on the verge of a grief moment, the sting is gone, the hurt has lessened.
But where I am today is not where my dear friend is. She’s just at the beginning of this new normal and it’s not fun or pain free–it hurts. It really hurts.
Pray for those who hurt to find the comfort of the loving Savior who longs to wrap them in his arms and say: “It will be alright. This is not the end; rest in me.”
Grace and Peace