Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
My uncle passed away yesterday with his family at his side, after a breakfast of eggs and toast, and a haircut in his bed by his daughter, my cousin Deb. He smiled and told them all that he loved them, and that they’d all be fine, all will be okay…closed his eyes, and died. He was sick for the past year with many issues, but up until that point in time was still driving, cooking for himself and his wife. Going to events, attending his grandchildren and great grandchildren’s events and birthday parties. And even said, “I wonder if I should renew my drivers license for 5 years or 3 years! He was something else, a great funny kind and loving family man.
Speaking with my cousin shortly after he passed, she was crying and she kept repeating, “I’m blessed to have had him this long, I’m blessed, I’m blessed, I’m blessed. ” The she stopped for the longest moment, not a word was said. I waited knowing how much she needed to speak and how much her heart was hurting. She finally struggled to speak, and in a whisper said, “I’m so sorry to say, but I still didn’t want him to go.” A comment I’ve heard so many times, having been by patient’s deathbeds, and hearing the family and seeing their suffering. It is something a lot of Christians struggle with, they feel like they’re not being a Christian, or unfaithful to God if they are wanting the person to stay.
I told my cousin, “Debbie, of course you want your dad. He’s your daddy. It’s not being unfaithful to God to feel that way. You will always miss him…”
She seemed to calm down significantly after that. Obviously, grief is a process that no one can take away from you. We all go through it. Losing a loved one. But our belief and faith bring comfort, even in our darkest moments of heart wrenching tears, and suffocating anguish of losing the person you love so much, we “hear” the words of Jesus, ” today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke23:43). It is those words and promises of the LORD, that enables us to go on with our lives. It is His promises and love that catapults us back into living. It is His love and strength that allows our heart to keep beating as His words cover us like soothing balm.
I’ve helped many individuals throughout the years with their grief. I’ve facilitated and held grief therapy sessions for patients and their families, and the common thread of most was “I didn’t want to let go.” And a good portion felt enormous guilt of being left behind while the other died. Usually that is called “survivors” guilt in traumatic situations, in wars, in some tragic situation like a house fire, or a car crash…but that’s another story in itself. Right now, I’m speaking about a death of a very “old man” who lived a good long life. Who is leaving behind a legacy, and memories of love to last a lifetime. It is to that I speak, and this is what I want other Christians to know.
It is okay to feel like you wanted more time with your loved one, no matter how old he or she was. It is okay to feel that your whole body feels like it has been gutted like a fish on a plate, it is okay to cry and miss them. And it is okay to say and think, “I wish I had just one more hour with him/her.” This is all normal and common reactions and a huge part of our thought process. And this is a process. As there is life, there is death. As there is joy, there is grief. As told in Ecclesiastes 3:2 everything has a season, and to all things there is such a time.
So, if someone you love just passed away, no matter how old, or how long he or she lived, it is okay to say, “I wish they were still here…” God understands more than you know, and He is there holding Your hand through it all. But remember this, “Your loved one is in Paradise this very day, Amen.”
And to my Uncle Joey, I’ll miss you. Say hello to my dad, your brother, and enjoy your supper with the Lamb…
“Father, Thank You for Your comfort in times of grief, thank You for Your Promises and rewards in Your Word, and thank You for loving us through it all, may those who are grieving find peace in Your love, and memories of their loved ones, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”