The phone rang, but I was busy so I let the answering machine get it. No message. A couple of minutes later it rang again. No message. Quickly it rang a third time. I picked it up, annoyed that the person on the other end wouldn’t leave a message when I was so busy!
It was the hospital.
My husband had been found on the floor of a local store. An ambulance was called. He was now in the emergency department. I wondered if he’d tripped and fallen, or maybe fainted. Both scenarios fell hollow in my brain… The caller paused. I thought she was going to give me more details, but no. Maybe say “goodbye”? She said “drive carefully.” I hung up the phone.
The Thought-and-Feeling that “this was it” appeared. I pushed it aside. I worked from home that day and was in comfy clothes. I needed to change and put on a bit of makeup. Reluctantly I slowly hurried… The Thought-and-Feeling sat in the middle of me.
Much happened over the next few days. As much as I didn’t want it to be, the Thought-and-Feeling were correct. “This” was “it”, the end of my husband’s life. The end of his time here on earth. The end of a husband-best friend-lover. The end of “the best father anyone could have.” The end of a proud, happy, love-being-one Gramps. The end of a son, brother, nephew, cousin, brother-in-law, uncle, friend…and more.
The end of life as I had known it for most of my life.
Grief. Pain. Loss. Things you don’t talk much about in polite company, or any company. Not at celebrations or events. Sometimes not even with friends. After all, who wants to be the “downer” when everyone else seems to be having a good time? You know the saying, “turn that frown upside down.” Or the song lyric, “don’t let the sun catch you cryin’.” Sure, you can talk about it when something really catastrophic and public happens, like the death of a family member or good friend. But, after a short while raising the topic, or sharing how you’re doing, will have folks looking for a quick escape from the conversation.
Grief is not a stranger to me. I have been grieving for nearly my entire life. From loss of home-friends-family when we immigrated to Canada, to miscarriage, to my father’s debilitating stroke at age 55 and his death 26 years later, to the time my brother went missing-presumed-dead in a country thousands of miles from home, to my mother’s relentless dementia and subsequent death… and more. Pain and loss have been constant companions on my journey through life.
The truth of the matter is that everyone experiences grief, pain, and loss. It’s an inescapable part of life. Ignoring it, not talking about it, denying it—these do not make it go away.
Have you ever read or heard the phrase “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”? The quote is talking about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
He experienced great pain, loss, and grief. He understands. Jesus knows what it feels like to cry, to suffer, to question God. He lived those things.
Jesus knows what it feels like to be betrayed, hated, lied about, to have a friend and a family member die, to be physically abused.
We can talk to Him. Jesus understands. He’s been there.
In His grief, and pain, and loss, Jesus turned to His Father, our Heavenly Father, God. It’s a good example for us.
Let’s journey together…