Twenty-seven years ago today was my first real experience with the death of a family member. Sure, I’d lost some great-grandparent but don’t remember them, at all. My Grandpa was in and out of the hospital for the better part of a year. He’d had heart problems that kept him sick. He was my best bud at the time and I remember being mad, not really sad, when he died. I was eight, I didn’t really understand. Death was not really talked about in our house.
Over the past 27 years I’ve lost others in my life, friends and family alike. The manner of death ranges from accidental (car wrecks), natural causes (sickness, old age) and even two suicides. With each death there is a different set of emotions. A new form a grief. A whole slew of questions, especially when some one dies too young.
Twenty-five, and some change, years after losing my Grandpa I learned more about grief than I ever thought possible. I learned that there is a reason I feel sad, mad, confused and so much more when we lose someone. We grieve because we loved, were loved, and continue to love.
When I lost my mom I had more emotions than I’ve ever had at once. It was so confusing. Not just the sudden lose but the ball of tangled emotions.
I think that I felt those 27 years ago when I lost my grandpa but didn’t know what to do with them. Didn’t know how to process grief so I ignored it. And at 8 that’s ok. I wasn’t damaged by his death. I just loved him and loved getting to spend time with my buddy for 8 years. When I lost my grandma almost 4 years ago I was older, understood more but still was hurt. Even though she lived a long life and was sick it still hurt, I was still confused.
As I said earlier, I’ve lost a lot of people in 27 years. No loss was easier than any others. They all taught me something. I learned something about death, and Life, with each new passing. I learned that God is in control. He doesn’t kill, He doesn’t take, He doesn’t destroy. He does, however, welcome with open arms. I learned that He died so we don’t have to. We die here on earth, He’s not the King of the earth, but, we don’t die spiritually. In fact, I learned, through Grief Share, that when we die and go to Heaven we are more alive than we’ve ever been.
I think the devil tries to take away our faith when he takes our loved ones. He hopes we blame God. Even though my faith did waiver a little when I lost my mom I quickly found it. I realized that my faith in Jesus and his promise of eternal life would be the only thing that kept me going. God held my head up when I couldn’t find the strength. He held my hand when I walked into the chapel for the funerals of my loved ones.
God never leaves us, we are the ones that walk away from Him. I’ve done it, but he’s alway there, with open arms, welcoming me home. His comfort is always there. It was there when I was 8, and every other age I’ve been when I’ve lost someone.
Twenty-seven years is along time to grieve. Thankfully, I haven’t grieved the whole time. Sure, I miss my grandpa, wish he could have been there for my 8th grade graduation, my prom, my high school graduation, my wedding and the birth of my boys. Man, he would have loved Micah and my boys. I believe that even though they didn’t meet here on earth Grandpa is looking down on me and is proud of me.
I thank God for all the relationships I’ve had over the years, no matter how they ended. I thank Him that I will see my grandparents, cousin, friends and Mom again. They are never far from me.