Completely spent, we sank into our comfort spots in the dimly lit living room. I finally broke the silence. “I have a feeling I’m never going to be alright again.”
“I know” my husband wearily agreed.
Early that morning I had been abruptly jolted out of a flu induced fog by a most unwelcome phone call from our twenty two year old Grandson.
My heart felt like it stopped as he wailed “Nene, my Dad’s in the hospital. The doctor says he won’t make it.”
In disbelief, my only immediate response was a stuporous “what?” Then again, only louder, “WHAT?”
That began a day filled with shock, confusion, and desperate, but blunted, hope. Our 54 year old son had experienced a sudden spike in blood pressure (cause unknown) causing bleeding around both sides of his brain. Thankfully, he was never aware of his condition or suffered any pain. He didn’t regain consciousness.
Just a little over six months ago, we lost our beloved only son and entered into the wrenching grief process. Gathered together at his memorial service were his shattered loved ones, friends, and co-workers who came to honor him and us. It was an upbeat atmosphere at the church he loved with his favorite music playing and videos that captured the many endearing facets of who he was. There were the usual beautifully arranged flowers that he would have so loved and many tributes to his character and winning personality. Then it was over.
Next came the genesis of the long, painful process of acceptance, of letting go. You hear the clichés … “Let go and let God”, “One day at a time”, “God will never give you more than you can handle”. All well meaning, all intended to comfort, nevertheless empty of any deep consolation. He is gone and he is never coming back in this lifetime. Yes, we know he is with God because he was a believer. He loved Jesus and went so far as to get a tattoo of Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me the strength” to glorify his Lord. Still …. We will never get to see his smiling (or scowling) face walking through our door again, or meet with him for dinner at his favorite Mexican restaurant. His son is way too young to lose his dad. And there is something dreadfully wrong with a parent having to lose a child. It’s grimly unnatural.
But then, what is natural about death to begin with? It’s the final release of our soul, our spirit back to our Creator. For those of us who have the assurance of eternal life with Him, it is bittersweet. We know our beloved is “in a better place” as we express it. We have the assurance we will see him or her again when our own life on earth is over. Yet, we mourn. We yearn terribly for those moments that are now only fading memories.
We wake up, live out our day and eventually, incredibly, we even catch ourselves laughing again. We go to work, pay our bills, invite company over, play golf, watch movies and, through it all, we walk with an invisible, terribly missed companion by our side.
In the middle of a conversation, for no apparent reason, I can feel hot tears welling up behind my eyelids. What happened? A word? A sound? A sight or scent? Something has just reminded me of him. Right now, writing this story, I am experiencing that very emotion. But then, I look at the clock. Ten more minutes and I have to start getting ready to go to work. It’s time to do it again. Release it. Give it to God. He belongs to Him anyway. He was His long before even I had a beginning. It was his heavenly Father who “knitted his bones together in my womb (Psalm 139:13).
So it is with life. From the very start, at the instant of birth, we release a cry that is to be repeated over and over again throughout our brief years on earth. And like Job, we say, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21).”