Today I’m grateful to share an article from a friend of mine. She’s been walking through a season of grief, as are many people these days. I hope her heart and perspective give you the gift of encouragement today.
Discomfort in Grief – Holding onto the Handle of Eternity
by Gene Dalais
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or
sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” –Revelation 21:4 (NLT)
I met a new friend recently. Our kids were close in age. She mentioned that her parents and in-laws were such a support. I bit my lip and I listened. Before I knew it she had asked me where my parents live. How should I reply? I thought about it.
“Um, both my parents have passed away,” I replied. Short and brief, digesting that this was my story. Others were listening in to our conversation which made it even more painful to speak. Heaviness cloaked the room.
“What happened?” She asked. I commend her bravery for even asking. Most shut down at this point or change the subject.
“My father passed of cancer in 2011,” I replied. I swallowed hard and hoped my voice would not crack with emotion. “My mom passed in 2020, cancer too.”
Her eyes widened and with it, I received an emotional wallop.
I said my kids never met their grandfather. I shared that my kids had some good years with their granny before she passed. My mom lived in our home, what a joy to have her with us. My kids loved and remember their granny Gogs. (Gogo is the Zulu word for Granny, we just shortened it.) I am forever grateful for those years. I too once had that surefire support; I knew the perks of it. They were gone.
Where do I go when I am reminded that my parents no longer live on this earth? The anticipation of the age to come – eternity. Heaven is my hope. It is the only thing that sees me through my days of grief, or when the raw and sore surface again. I wish this was not my story. My kids are far too familiar with death in their little lives. We lost an immediate family member on my husband’s side to Covid-19. My children are resilient. They skip and dance and are full of life. They keep their joy despite the grief we have weathered.
I have wondered at times why others have all their family members intact. Then I recall God numbers our days. I have also watched people not appreciate their parents. I have thought about how final it is to not have parents. Some of my friends have parents that swoop in for the weekend to care for their kids. This is not my lot. What I do have – friends, friends that are like family. God has provided friends I can trust my kids with. I thank God for that.
I focus on what I do have and what I can thank God for. I have a God I can trust, a friend closer than a brother. I see this life as a huge tapestry, and when death and grief come, it seems like a big black knot of thread at the back of the tapestry with no purpose. I am too close to the tapestry to see the full picture. God can see that messy knotted thread. He knows what good can come out of it and be displayed on the other side of the tapestry of my life for his glory. He is the God who numbers our days. He walks alongside me in my pain.
I am choosing to trust that once I cross over to the eternal side, I will see what the heartache was for. When I reunite with my parents in all their wholeness and fullness, there will be a deeper understanding of the purpose. Perhaps I have to walk this grief experience to have the depth and character to walk with others in their grief and process the death of a loved one. Either way, I hold the handle of hope – eternity with Christ. There are two sides of the door and the handle connects one side to the other, one side I see and the other I long for.