At some dark corner, life will screech to a halt for just about every one of us, when, like David, we are told that our dearest and best friend or family member has come into the icy clutches of death. It was on the infamous day that Saul and his son, Jonathan, died in battle at the hands of heathen henchmen, the Amalekites, when David received word that his King, and his “blood brother,” Jonathan, were both dead. David lamented sorely: “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thy high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” (2 Sam.1:25,26). Thirty some years later, upon hearing of the gruesome death of his rebellious son, Absalom, David “covered his face and…cried with a loud voice, ‘O my son, Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!’” (2 Sam.19:4)
We have all been blind-sided or broad-sided by the ugly and merciless enemy Death. It never visits at a convenient time, is most always unwelcomed, and leaves behind a path of devastation, destruction and despair.
And with death and loss, there is grief. Grief is normal and grief is necessary and there is therapeutic value in working through the process of grieving. There is no short-cut and there are no easy remedies. It takes time and will produce healing, but there is no way to dress it up and make it look more palatable.
First, it is gut-wrenching. Anger, guilt, despair, doubt and a plethora of emotions run the gamut of your soul. Those, in turn, work on your mind and you might think you are going insane. Darkness rather than light is your outlook. Food has lost its appeal. The world news, which might have been something you took a daily dose of, is of no interest to you. The Bible is a book that, though you love it and have been a daily visitor to its pages, is now something you may have to force yourself to pick up. Friends and their well-meaning words seem so superficial. No loss could compare to your loss. Why should you be living and enjoying life when your loved one had to suffer and surrender life? Guilt sets in big time. You could have, should have done something differently. You could have been there more. You could have shown more compassion and given more of yourself.
A pastor, counseling a sad soul recently who was on this jarring journey, said, “You never get over the grief, you just get through it.”
So, with the passing of every day, month, year – you continue to work your way through the process of grieving. No, you will never get over it! Yes, you will get through it! With His help and the counsel and prayers of your family and friends and especially the Comforter, you will be able to once again enjoy sunlight, food, ice-cream, popcorn, the news and chit-chat. It will never be the same; it will never be better; the edge is gone and you will always miss that, but life will be bearable and life will become once again, through the marvelous and matchless grace of our great God, good!
A dear friend who recently lost to death his wife of a lifetime and best friend said, “You know it’s going to be bad, but you could never imagine how bad. It’s something you could never prepare for.”
So, what I am saying is surely not to prepare anyone for the inevitable. Nor is it to console anyone who is going through the steps of grief. It is simply some observations and thoughts for the “what it’s worth” column from the heart and pen of someone who has walked that lonely road before, not only with my dearest family members, but with hundreds of other families who, on some dreaded day, often without forewarning, were thrust into convulsing, confusing, contorting agonies of death’s dark drama as we left that silent city of the dead.
Life here is not, thank God, our final destination. We’re upward bound. We have an upward look! And, in perspective, we are able to cope with life’s harshest realities, including the end of life here as we have known it in time. It’s all part of His master plan, and though we cannot fully prepare for it or by-pass it or cushion its bruising blows, we can and will get through it! For the many who have recently starred into a casket at a lifeless form of a loved one, know that you are not alone and that life will once again be bearable by His never-failing grace and never fading presence.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Cor.1:3,4)