Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Death and Eternity

There's just nothing quite like death and grief.

You can't fully comprehend it. It tries to choke the life out of you.

You can't completely prepare for the waves of sorrow and grief that will overwhelm you. You can't prepare for the joy that will strike you when you picture your believing loved ones at the foot of Jesus.

After a loved one dies, sorrow hits you at the most random of moments. You grieve all over again. When it's not a sudden, tragic death - like my 94 year old Grandpa who passed away 2 weeks ago yesterday - it's easier to process, though still unbelievably sad. You wouldn't wish they were still here because they had a good, long, happy, healthy life. But the heartbreak of losing them is still awful and it gnaws at your insides for days, weeks, and sometimes years to come.

Tragedy is something else altogether. Tragic deaths - like my 2nd cousin who died suddenly in a tragic accident 1 week + 2 days ago - is impossible to really ever wrap your head around. It's shocking and hard to believe that you'll never see them again. In this case, I'd actually never met him, but I knew his dad and I adore him. It is an utter tragedy and he left two teenage girls and a wife behind... no more hugs, no more kisses on the cheek, no more cheering them on and weeping with them on their hard days. He's gone. And there's a really big, lonely, aching hole where he used to be. It will never fully make sense.

There's my friend whose precious 6-hour-old baby died 9 months ago in two days. It's incomprehensible to me why babies are allowed to die. I mean, I get that God is in control and it's part of the Fall of man and sin... but, why sweet innocent little babies? That's crazy hard. I cannot pretend to understand. But I know God is good, gracious, and kind, and he weeps with us in our sorrow.

For us personally, with Grandpa's death, this is the end of an era. We have no more living grandparents. We don't know when or if or how often now we might even see most of our cousins who live far away. The glue that tied us all together is now gone. I can hardly even begin to really imagine life without any grandparents. It seems so strange. Yet as we grow older, I fear the days of no more living parents. That knocks the breath out of me and makes me want to sob like a little girl.

So we think of all the days gone by and reflect on all those childhood memories. And we wish we could go back and tell our childhood selves that the days are fleeting, don't just toss them to the wayside for the next thing to come along.

THIS was the last time we saw him. It breaks my heart we didn't get to see him over the past year. We were planning to go this past weekend. It hurts me so much to realize this. But with his dementia, honestly he wouldn't have really understood. And Elijah never would have remembered. It was more about seeing him, touching him, having the picture together with him. One last time. One fond farewell.

Elijah will never know our grandparents. That's so very, very sad. And he will never know his paternal grandpa [Tim's dad].

What a reminder it is to savor the moments. We truly never know when it could be the last for us or someone we love. How easy it is to simply go through the motions of daily living, forgetting that the most important things in life should matter to us every single day. It could be our last. We aren't meant to live in dread of dying, but we should count the days and know that we are one day's march closer to eternity.

Where will you spend eternity?

Without knowing fully that you have an answer to that question, my friend, the answer isn't a good one. Get right with God today and make sure you know that you know that you know Jesus, accept his free gift of salvation for dying on the cross for you, and commit your life to serving him today. I'd love to see you in heaven someday!

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