My Dear Chickadees,
When death comes, it rips away a piece of our heart and holds us hostage, while memories of the way we were and things we did pulsate through what is left of our heart. The loss of those we love is never easy. If the one who physically left us was slowly leaving us with an incurable illness, we tend to accept their transition better because we had time to brace ourselves and prepare for the inevitable; but nevertheless, the pain of change and having to adjust to a new normal – one without that person in it – is a process.
Death is one of those visitors that we can’t escape, and shows up in everyone’s lives at some point, but it is seldom welcomed. When it arrives suddenly, without warning, it rocks our world, and once we recover from the shock of it, our brain struggles to understand why. The ugly truth is, we may never know why, and even if we did, it doesn’t change the reality that someone we love was ripped from our lives and we are left to continue our life without them in it.
Death forces us to get in touch with our own mortality and we evaluate what is really important. It opens our eyes to how vulnerable we are, but with God’s grace, we live another day. The question I asked myself and will ask you is “How?” How will we live after death pays us a visit? Will we be better or worse? Once again, we are faced with the choice.
Jesus promised us when He left us that He would send the comforter to help heal our broken hearts; and He is not slack on His promises, but we have to surrender our reasoning to trusting. Trust that God, who is sovereign, allowed this. He understands our pain, is in it with us, and will help us heal.
What I’m about to confess may be controversial, but nevertheless, it’s what I believe. I don’t believe that death is from God. I believe He receives our real selves, our spirit-selves, once death has swallowed our earthly lives; but death wasn’t part of His original plan. 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 speaks about Jesus’ return and how He will regain dominion over everything and everyone. The verses that help us embrace that death is not of God (even though He allows it for now) can be found in verses 25 and 26.
It states: “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” God reveals death as that last enemy that He WILL destroy.
When death shows up in my life and rips a piece of my heart away, here are a few beliefs I stand on until I can heal enough to create a “new normal”.
First: As a believer in Christ, I believe this is not all that there is. Inside this physical body is the REAL me. God formed and shaped this physical casing that the “real me” lives in. It has gotten older, battled cancer, experiences a few aches and pains, and will waste away. In the words of my grandmother, “None come to stay.” It’s true; we are all pilgrims placed here for a purpose according to a Divine plan. When my purpose has been achieved, the real me will go back to my eternal home where I will be received by God, and welcomed by my loved ones who completed their mission and returned home before me.
I believe Colton Burpo’s account of what he saw and experienced when he visited heaven during a near death experience at age 4. It was documented by his father, Todd Burpo, in his book Heaven is for Real. I choose to believe that where my loved ones are is so wonderful, that if given the chance to come back, they wouldn’t. Age and illness has made me contemplate what happens to us when death snatches us from this plane. Although I am not homesick, I trust that God will receive me, and has a place prepared for me when this earthly tent wears away; and I will reunite with my loved ones again.
Second: I believe that when people come into our lives, they bring the gift of themselves, and they enrich our lives with their gifts. Whether it is their laughter or outlook or attitude or faith, their presence in our lives makes us better because they touched our lives and left their gift for us to incorporate with our gifts. Reflecting upon the gift they leave to enrich our lives becomes a healing balm that soothes our hurt and helps heal our broken hearts. When we remember them, and recall their gifts to us, they continue to live in us, and we continue to carry a part of them with us.
Last: I choose to trust God and not lean on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). I believe that God “Heals the brokenhearted and He is the one who bandages their wounds,” Psalm 147:3. Healing is a process – a slow painful process – which involves living through holidays and anniversaries without your love ones physically with you. Those times are coming, so we must plan to celebrate them, despite the fact that we feel like burying our head in a pillow and shutting out the world.
While no one can or should tell you how long you need to grieve, allow friends and family to walk this journey with you. We each grieve our own way and heal in our own time. When you are a believer, you are in a community of love… and love heals. Allow that love from your community of love strengthen you and assist you in that process. In time, you will find that the memory of your loved one and their gift that you will choose to remember to enrich your life soothes the pain of your loss. Trust that God will do what he says He says He does: heal the brokenhearted.
For those who find it difficult to move beyond the pain, there are professionals to assist in that grieving process. Remember that God works through people, so you do not have to suffer alone.
I dedicate this blog in memory of Joan Recio and Jacqueline Greene-Deckard, who recently traded mortality for immortality and are now forever young. They are experiencing the joy I hope to one day know when I see them again face to face.
Peace and Blessings, My Chickadees. Share this with a friend!