I had the privilege of sharing in the memory and grief of loved ones lost at our local regional hospital this past weekend…. this is for all of you who feel the pain extra at this time of year.
So many of us know the pain of loss. Maybe it’s recent and your still numb or it happened a while ago and you are just now grieving.
Maybe it was your best friend, your mom/dad/grandparent/daughter/son or a spouse. Whoever it is that you’ve lost, whatever it is that you are feeling right now, it is real, it is hard and painful but please know that it is okay and it is necessary for you to feel it.
Maybe your memories consist of laughter, adventures and happiness. If you are human like the rest of us, perhaps they consist of regrets, pain, guilt and shame.
Maybe you are not mourning a relationship for what it was, but for what you wish it had been.
Perhaps you are celebrating a life well lived or grieving a life that seemed wasted.
Whatever it is, it matters. You matter. Your pain and your grief matter.
I too have felt the sting of death and loss.
It was 2005 when I got the first call. A car accident and my oldest sister gone. This was my first experience with death so close. You really don’t know what it’s like until you’ve experienced it.
Then in 2009 I got my second call, another car accident. This time, my mom, dad, brother, 2 nephews and a niece all gone. 6 family members. This left me numb for years, unable to even grasp my new reality.
Then, just as I started processing that loss, I got my 3rd call. This time, a seizure and a brain cancer diagnoses for my former husband. This didn’t lead to a physical death, but to a death of our marriage.
So yes, from the core of my being and the depth of my heart, I too have felt loss and pain…..
- That feeling of the morning after.
- That feeling after the hustle of the first few days, and every one is gone.
- The empty seat at the table.
- Sorting through the clothes. Emptying the house
- The random break down at the grocery store.
- Everyone telling you to stay strong when you feel weaker than you ever imagined.
- Praying for you, sorry for your loss and they are in a better place ringing in your ear long after the last person leaves.
- Wishing so bad someone would say the name of your loved one to give you permission to speak of them, again, because you miss them so darn much.
Please know you are not alone in any of this.
Maybe you’re here today out of obligation and haven’t really felt sadness or grief but more relief after caring for someone for years. Maybe that relief is there, but covered under so much guilt you won’t let it show. Please know, you’re relief is real, it is beautiful and you have full permission to feel it.
Maybe bitterness has crept in and you see no reason to feel at all. Maybe you see no reason to go on, you feel hopeless, alone, depressed…..
You used to love God and actually believed He was good and wanted good for you. Now you’re wondering why you’re feeling so abandoned by him.
After my first and even second loss, I could still somewhat say with confidence that I believed God could use this for His good. I was still able to say, Lord your will and not mine, for your glory and not mine.
But then with the cancer diagnosis and living in what that reality looked like day in and day out, I lost that. I had been broken to the core and I wondered if God really even cared. He felt so distant and even when I tried to pray, all I could utter was Jesus… Jesus where are you?!
When we are in it, it is often hard to see, but looking back now, He was all around me.
In every moment of weakness, his strength kept me going, with every kind gesture he was pouring his care over me. With every hand that held mine, he was right there, holding me together.
We are not promised an easy life, because quite honestly an easy life would be a boring life, but you know what we are promised, who we get to do that hard life with.
Once we change our focus to that, then we no longer as why? But how and with who!
I can stand here today and tell you without a shadow of a doubt, that I would not be here today, sane, if it wasn’t for my faith in a God of mercy, love and hope.
We are still here today…….. you and I still have breath. And that breath is an honor!
So we pick ourselves up and we heal, we heal every crevice of that pain. That doesn’t mean we forget, it means we remember. Every. Single. Day. and we live accordingly.
A note from our loved ones today could look something like this:
Don’t let me leaving keep you down forever… Feel it, heal it, LIVE!
- Live with purpose.
- Do what makes your heart beat a little faster.
- Let go of the anger. The hate. The resentment.
- Live with perspective.
- Perspective of, will this really matter in the long run?
- Believe in something bigger than yourself
- Be kind and smile whenever you can.
- Love oh so gently and fiercely, all those around you.
- But live. Live in today with everything you’ve got!
Yes, carry the memory of the one you lost with you, not to hold you back but to push you to live a full life, a whole life. A life of purpose, a life of peace.
Make them proud. Make yourself proud. Make God proud.
You matter. You are not alone. We are all in this together!
Pain well lived through becomes the most beautiful masterpiece.
I am with you in the pain of your loss. I am with you.
Until next time,
Watch the video on this here: Memorial