The new year has begun. And while many of us are jumping with joy into our new goals, resolutions, and even relationships, others are navigating unexpected pathways into grief and mourning, due to the deaths of loved ones.
In one of my community of friends, I have several brothers and sisters who are mourning the recent death of a dear sister and friend in ministry named E. She battled cancer for quite some time and this past weekend she entered into eternal healing and the loving arms of God.
I met E one time, about three years ago.
She encouraged me with her heart for God’s kingdom and to see oneness truly happen in the Body of Christ so that the love we have could touch those beyond church walls. She is a woman who leaves an incredibly deep legacy of love, intentional living, and fruit that has borne witness to the power of the gospel of Jesus and God’s indescribable love for people.
She also leaves a husband and three young children, along with family members and a huge community of friends. People who are missing her deeply as the first few days of acute grief settle upon on their shoulders and the pain of the loss becomes a new part of normal.
I know that acute grief and that pain very well.
And from my own journeys of grief, I wrote these words and posted them on E’s CaringBridge site, as a comment to the post her husband wrote sharing that she’d passed away. My prayer for him and those mourning E is that they would be present with their grief. The grief has purpose and it is needed in this journey:
“A dear friend told me 10 years ago, ‘We grieve deeply because we’ve loved deeply.’ S, you and your children and so many others loved and will continue to love E deeply. Your grief is a unique and tangible reflection of that. It says with raised hands, ‘I loved someone, and it mattered, and there will always be something beautiful, significant and special about this.’ Grief shows us where the trees of love in our life have been planted. You planted deeply with E. That love will continue to grow in you and comfort you in the journey ahead. Sending my prayers from Orlando. I am so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful bride. Praying God’s comfort and supernatural peace in this time.”
For those who grieve please know this: you are not alone and as much as you want to let others into your journey with you, please do.
For those who know people who are grieving: choose to be present with them and encourage them. Love them and check in on them regularly. The lessons you see them learn in their grief could help you in future seasons where you too will enter the house of mourning as well.
Life is a gift and it is also finite. The days we have here on Earth will pass by faster than we can imagine. Living and loss are entwined together. We can learn much from both.