Irony & Hope: God in Times of Grief
The last week has been a difficult one. One that just doesn’t make sense. The kind when you wish for a do-over, as if in some way, maybe things would have turned out differently. My last post was a tribute to one of my closest friends, Suzi, who unexpectedly passed away just over a week ago. With her passing, the questions arise. If I’d been there, maybe I could have done something. My mind is in a bit of a scramble it seems. The reality is that God chose to call my friend home to be with Him. Bottom-line. I don’t understand it. I couldn’t have changed it. It happened. And it is. Along with the questions, memories keep popping up. Good memories. Memories that still make me smile and laugh.
I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with Suzi in mid-July. We had a wonderful time together. Lots of laughter. Laughter always seemed to flow right out of her. Things hit us as funny. I’m sure others thought we’d lost our minds. It didn’t matter. For whatever reason, they were funny to us. I’m so grateful to have had Suzi’s laughter & joy in my life, for as long as I did. It was a blessing, I’ll never forget.
In the time I spent with her in July, along with our laughter and silliness, we had some serious conversation. Not uncommon. Hashing out life & faith together; it was what we did. We spoke, of all things, about the end of life and how it may or may not affect our faith & the faith of those left behind. Foremost on her heart was the faith of the family she loved deeply. She didn’t want her faith shaken, nor the faith of her family, in the event, God might bring a loved one home. That night we cried and prayed together.
I shared about my mom and the possibility that she needed hospice care. She’s nearing the last stages of Alzheimer’s and a care worker (who I have a great deal of respect for) suggested we obtain hospice care, specifically comfort care to make “the end of life more enjoyable” for her. The care worker’s words hit me hard. I told Suzi I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to my mom. She was still my mom and I wasn’t ready to lose her.
I told Sue that since my original conversation with the care worker, she’d determined, perhaps she’d spoken too soon and maybe my mom really hadn’t reached the end stage yet.
I also shared that when I thought my mom was nearing this “end of life stage,” I struggled with how I’d handle the grief, once it came. I’d spent a good deal of time praying & seeking God, reading His word. One day while walking and praying, I was reminded of one of the most difficult times I’ve experienced in my adult life – when I was given my daughter’s diagnosis of Down syndrome. An extremely painful time for me, a time when I sought God with everything I had. And He never once let me down. He was perfectly, unbelievably & divinely faithful to give me comfort, strength and peace. He even restored my joy, putting my broken heart back together again piece by piece.
I told Suzi during our visit, that on that walk, it was as if God whispered to my heart, “Angie, you know I was faithful to hold you up & bring you through that pain and loss. You know I’m big enough to bring you through the grief. Trust me with your grief. I can handle it.”
Little did I know when I spoke those words to Sue, God was preparing my heart for another great loss, one I’d never considered. Standing in the aftermath of the loss of such a close friend, I know God’s whispers hold true. He is faithful. Suzi knew that. I know that. I’m trusting Him with this process.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4