For the third day in as many days, I have awakened with a specific thought on my heart and felt compelled to write. I’m not sure why that is; perhaps it is a reminder of something I will need in the coming days or there is someone that God in His infinite grace, wisdom, and mercy already knows will stumble across and find some comfort and companionship in what they are going through. Whatever the case, here goes!
Last night in passing, my hubby commented that today was a “special” day. Just for a moment or two I pondered his statement noting that the date would be November 7. Then recognition set in. November, though it contains one of our favorite holidays, has tended to be hard month for our family. By that, I mean hard things tend to happen in November. November 7th is the day my Mom passed away. It has been 23 years this year and honestly very few years have passed that I didn’t have some kind of memory of that day on this 7th day of November. Certain days you just remember- birthdays, holidays, special shared occasions, missed special days when they would have been there if possible; like weddings, graduations, etc.
Do I still miss my Mom? Oh good heavens, yes! Her passing was fast and unexpected- almost out of the blue. She transitioned into eternity at a young age of 59, when her grandchildren were just ages 10 and 13. my youngest had just turned 10 ten 9 days earlier. She would miss my sons 14th birthday coming in just 43 days! Thanksgiving and Christmas would be different in the years to come; something would always be missing without Mom’s presence. In a similar way, my Dad entered eternity just seven years and a few weeks later; also in November. Remember, if you read this blog, a couple of days back- James 1 talks about trials in our life and makes it clear it is when they come, not if they come. Loss of a loved may be one of the hardest knocks life gives us! Even to those of us who are people of faith and have the beautiful hope of eternal life and being reunited one day in heavenly places; Loss is hard! Whether it is sudden and unexpected or it is gradual during a long fought battle with disease; it is never easy and you are never quite ready for it. Yes, your loved one may have been through a painful battle and it may be a relief that their pain and suffering has come to an end; but it is still hard. We still miss them and their presence and influence in our daily lives.
Perhaps it is because the holiday season is upon us and depression and anxiety always seem to escalate during this season. We face shorter days with less sunshine; grief and losses still come; increased and even unmet expectations are all around; for many, holidays mean financial stress; cold weather brings increased bill expenses; risks of colds and flu that come around in the fall and winter increase. Regardless, people struggle more this time of year and perhaps that is why this topic is weighing heavily on my mind and heart. It could it be remembering my first childhood memory this morning; a fall day when I was around 3, (I was almost four since my birthday is in December)?
That memory was of the family gathering after a funeral. I don’t remember the funeral, I probably stayed at my great aunts with my slightly older cousins and a sitter. It stands out because we were together, the whole extended family. Also, because I lost my new and beautiful golden birthstone bracelet. It disappeared among all the fallen leaves on the ground, never to be found. Superficial, I know but I was 3! I only share this story to let you know from that day to the day we buried Mom, I had been to almost as many funerals as years I had lived. (We tend to be a close knit family, and people of my grandparents generation tended to larger families).
I guess the point I’m trying to convey is loss is hard (at the risk of being redundant); you aren’t alone; no one knows how to navigate it well; each loss is different and yet the same; whether through death or by other means, it is still loss and it is still hard; I have never found a proven way to navigate loss, though there are some ways that may be healthier than others; and finally, we all deal with it and the associated grieving differently. It just looks different on each of us. In my life, focusing more on the treasured good memories has been helpful. Some folks find talking about it helpful; others find it painful and hard. We are all different but we are not alone! Faith and our Heavenly Father are a great help in getting through the tough times associated with a loss and there are many comforting scriptures to sooth our troubled souls in such times.
If this is you, my prayer is that you will find comfort, peace, and in time that your joy will be renewed and refreshed! May His grace, mercy and comfort be like a blanket around you as you navigate these roadways! There is life beyond loss!!!
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16