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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another Grief Observed

The range of emotions and comments that arise when a saint passes from this world to the next has always intrigued me. C. S. Lewis wrote an entire book on his grieving process.

It's an interesting conundrum. Even when taken "before their time", a Christian is in a better place and much better off.

However, we need to mourn for our loss. In most cases, they will be sorely missed. And we need to acknowledge and deal with the hole that is left.

I remember the strange mix of feelings that came when my parents passed on. When Dad went on, I was grateful and relieved that he was no longer trapped in that decaying body. But I felt sharp pangs for my mother, as she would no longer have him at her side after more than 45 years together.

When Mom went on, I felt the same relief that she was shed of that cancer-ridden body AND that she would not be missing Dad anymore. But I was disappointed that my kids would grow up without their Grandma Muriel. And kids deserve a great grandma (like she was) to soften up some of the hard edges of life.

What brought all this to mind is a recent blog by Del Tackett of The Truth Project. Del's dad recently passed on and it is amazing to see the balance between the loss felt by a son and the faith of a Christian that relies on truth rather than emotion for the foundation of their faith.

Del went to pick up his father's ashes and was struck with a wave of emotion and asked for some privacy in the chapel.
I felt so alone. And for a moment, I was a little boy needing the comforting presence of his dad. But all I had was a box of ashes. No hand on my shoulder. No silent nod that said "Don’t worry, son...I’m right here." Could this really be happening to a guy who is already a grandfather himself?

For a brief moment, the emptiness and the emotion gave birth to the question...is this it? Is this all there really is? Is this the end of my dad? A box of ashes?

That’s when I began to smile. Because truth trumps emotion...truth shatters despair and exposes the lie of hopelessness. My smile became a soft chuckle.

No...this is not the end of my dad.


I will deeply miss my dad, and I do not doubt that there are days ahead when I will feel that loss. But something happened yesterday that I am thankful for. Counselors call it "closure". I call it a dose of reality. But not a cold reality...it was a warming reality...a smile in the midst of the tears...a confidence that knows "Where, O death, is your victory?"
Read the whole thing.

And thanks, Del, for sharing this incredibly personal moment.


valedictorianmom said...

No matter what age we are when both parents are gone, I think we still feel like orphans---

Praise God we will see them again.

LeAnn said...

I know exactly how you feel. Both my parents are gone, my dad a heart attack and my mom was murdered in a robbery. It never gets easier.