Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Grief in Joy

A dear college friend of mine lost his wife recently.
It hit me hard.
The depth surprised me.
Because you see,
I was never blessed to meet her.
I knew that she was amazing
purely because he chose her as his bride.
It was a joy to see the amazing outpouring of love he showed her, the smile on his face, and to see the many adoring things she would tag him in on Facebook.
They loved each other so very much.
From what they chose to show the world
you never knew the pain of illness they were walking through.

I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to walk in his shoes right now.
The same day I heard the news,
I found myself in a tour of a church and standing before the grave of a dear friend and priest.
We had talked for years about his presiding over my wedding.
"God willing," he would say.
I would agree.
What else do you do when you are talking with a hero in your life
and they set the example of giving over everything to God?
I never wanted to think about the fact that God might not will it
and would shove the fear down into the corners of my mind
to be covered in the shadows unseen but lurking.

As I stood there looking at his grave,
reading his name, the dates, and mulling over conversations in my head I heard,
"I'll be there no matter what, you know that."
Yes. I knew it when he said it.
I knew it now, but it did not take away the thought which screamed in my head,
"You are supposed to be here."

By the exit in the Church a book of names resided.
This book was full of all the dead that we remember in our prayers throughout the year.
I went over and wrote her name in the book.
I wrote the names of my fiancé's grandparents and family that I have never met.
Something was comforting about it.
By writing their names down I felt like I was reaching out and telling them,
"You are not forgotten."
"I wish I would have known you."
This past week I have been walking with this grief.
Mulling it over in my head.
 At first I thought my grief was for him and their son.
I know a part of it is.
I know him.
He has always been the perfect example of a brother in Christ to me.
It makes perfect sense to grieve with him.
Yet, there still seemed like something was missing.
Until I pieced together the many thoughts of that day.

One of the many things I had looked forward to at our wedding was the opportunity of meeting this beautiful woman who had captured the heart of someone I admire deeply
and their young son.
I wanted to tell her the important role her husband played in my life.
I wanted to get to know her.
I wanted to be her friend.
I had lost some of that.

Isn't that why we grieve?
Because we have lost something.
We mourn the loss of things
and sometimes we mourn the loss of a dream.

In the midst of their loss it can be hard to see the beauty that remains.
I was confused.
How can I be so happy planning for a joyous time in my life,
when there is such pain touching those I love?
When there is this hole in my heart of people missing from it?
How can I be celebrating a dream come true while simultaneously mourning the loss of people that I planned to have there celebrating with me?

The only thing I knew to do was cling onto something solid.
To cling to the fact that I know there is life after this.
To cling to the truth that even though I cannot see, hear, or feel them,
the people I miss are here in a new way.
And as my grandmother would say,
we are all together clinging to the same rugged cross.




  1. I'm so sorry to hear that! Hope is one of my favorite parts of being a Christian, because it's the virtue that reminds us that even in the darkest times, the end is not the end.


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