My grandfather died this week. I have experienced the loss of several loved ones throughout my life; I should be able to accept death. The truth is that every loss is different because each person was different and played a different role in my life. What never changes is the immediate transition into grief the moment I hear the news that my loved one has left this world. I have always struggled with the concept of grief, mainly because the grief I feel is more for me than for my loved one, which makes me seem selfish. I am truly blessed to have faith in the Lord that provides me with the peace of knowing he or she is in heaven with our heavenly Father. From that perspective, grief has no place in my emotions; my loved ones are at peace and their sufferings and pain have been taken away forever.
I grieve because I am still in my earthly body without the love of the person I lost to help me deal with worldly trials. I grieve because I mourn the loss of a companion I had grown up believing would never leave me. I remember being a child surrounded by family. This family was the cornerstone of my life, and I could not imagine a world without it. As a child I did not understand the concept of death. Somehow I never outgrew this misperception, and when I began to experience the deaths of my family members and other loved ones, the stability of my life was shattered. The hardest image I find myself needing to alter is that of my wedding. It started in a church filled to bursting with family, and with each loss, I need to change the vision of my wedding day and the church becomes less full with more empty spaces. My grandfather was the hardest person to remove from that image. I believed he would be around to see me married and to have his great-grandchildren.
At one time in my life I would be angry with the Lord each time my family diminished. I did not understand how He could take away the people who made my life what it was. The truth is that I cannot build my life on those of others. The only person I can rely on to always be a part of it is Jesus Christ. Due to the COVid-19 pandemic, my family was not able to be with my grandfather when he died. This might sound tragic, but the only person who needed to be with him was there. I have complete faith that Jesus was at my grandfather’s bedside when he died, ushering him into heaven. In fact, I believe his hospital room was packed with a host of angels, saints and other family members ready to accompany my grandfather on his journey to his new home in heaven.
Every time I face death again I do feel the fear of being alone, but then a soft voice whispers, “I am here.” We are all human and we will all die, which means we cannot count on each other always being around us, at least, not physically. The one person we can count on is the Lord. I am thankful for this because He is the only being worthy of complete trust, and I know He is the only one I need.
Keeping this in mind, I no longer grieve for my departed loved ones, but rather celebrate their lives. My grandfather’s life was definitely worth celebrating. The day he died, my brain raced through all the beautiful memories I shared with him. They are so precious and even though I wept as I remembered them, my tears were from joy because the memories are such treasures. My grandfather’s life was a gift from God, which I will carry the rest of my life. My grandfather will indeed be with me the rest of my life. He lives on in my heart, and the hearts of the many people he touched.