Death comes uninvited and every death is different. I just don’t get any better at coping with the death of someone dear to me. Mourning takes its own course.
In just three weeks in August this year, I received news of six deaths. News of the most recent death came as I was leaving a friend’s funeral. I began to think: ‘No more…please, no more… not just yet.’
One friend died suddenly She was younger than I am. Two others – a family member and a friend -died just weeks after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.They were both in my age group. I am shaken by it. How much more shaken are the close members of their families.
When my mother died, six years ago, some cheerful and well-intentioned Christians said:’Oh, she’s fine We know where she is.’ One of my daughters replied: ‘Yes, and we know where she isn’t.’
Whatever we, as Christians, believe about dying, eternal life and resurrection of the body, the death of a loved one is a stark and painful reality. Yes, shared mourning can be a great comfort and strength. Yes, the loving, healing presence of God sustains us. But grief is still grief. Away with the ‘brave face’ and ‘stiff upper-lip’ I was brought up to value so highly.
‘For everything there is a season…
a time to weep
and a time to laugh.’
For even while we weep over the one who has died, we smile and laugh as we remember the one who was but is no more.
Tears and laughter become friends.
God restores in us the joy of our salvation and renews our eternal hope in Christ.