Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy Heavenly Birthday

Happy Birthday Cheryl and Dad.

I started this post a few weeks ago now. It was one I had thought about writing, but wasn't sure if I should or not. It's one of those not-so-pretty posts, one that delves into sadness and tears and such like.

I was prompted to start it after reading my friend Jennie's post on Cheryl's upcoming birthday. I had forgotten Cheryl's birthday was coming and that in itself made me sad. But just reading her post and then reading the comments, I was struck all over again with the reality that Cheryl is really, really gone and there is nothing I can do to change that fact. In my heart I know she is so much better off, the grief is still there. I still want to go back to those days of stopping off at J and Cheryl's house to hang out. Having another couple that both you and your husband relate to is not something to be taken for granted. It's more rare than you would think.

It just feels like there are so many special people in heaven that I would like to be enjoying life with down here. Just yesterday, for one brief moment, I heard Dad's footsteps on the basement stairs. It was plain to me, just like they sounded when he would come down the steps to see what Mom and I were doing downstairs. I thought, "there's Dad" and in the next second, I knew it wasn't. But it was a solid reminder again that he is gone too.

And my own little family, December 21 marks 4 years since our first baby went home and now half of our family is in heaven. I want to ask God why? Why me? But I do know that's not right question. Why not me? I'm not any more special than the next person. I don't deserve preferential treatment. People have suffered much worse than I have.

And this is where I can stall out. Where to from here? I can wallow in my grief and despair and have it turn me into a whiny, self-pitying person. Or I can follow Jennie's example and do something for others. Don't get your hopes up, I don't have a giveaway planned, though that would be a lot of fun. I spent my time wallowing. It isn't pretty for me or the people around me. I'd like to say I have overcome and am now the most giving, cheerful person you could meet. That's not even close to true either. I hope I have grown through these storms of grief, but even that feels like a wish some days.

I think it is good to feel and to grieve. This is my own philosophy now, but in order to grieve you have to first lose something precious to you. If you have never grieved, then you have never lost something precious and that is sad. Now if you truly have cherished relationships and they are all still intact, Praise the LORD!!! But that seems a little unlikely. So maybe I should be looking at grief as a blessing. Because I miss Cheryl, because I miss my Dad, because I miss my babies, it means I had something there to miss. I had a relationship with Cheryl, a friendship that meant something to me, so of course I miss her. If I had only viewed her as a surface friend or refused to allow myself to enjoy our friendship or to let it mean anything to me, than her death would be an event, not a process. I would have gone to her funeral and then been done with grief. What a sad, sad way to live.

Now, it's not that grieving is fun, but I am realizing it is a result of having had something really good. Cheryl was a good friend, my dad was the solid fixture in my life from the very beginning, my babies were my heart and soul and dream.

I don't know if I am explaining myself very good or not. Let me just say that for those people who do not really live and truly treasure relationships and live intentionally with the people around them, my heart goes out to them. Yes, maybe they are sheltering themselves from grief, but they are also keeping themselves from a treasure trove of memories and moments that make the grief bearable. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't distance myself, I would plunge even more headlong into these relationships knowing they were only going to last for a too short of season.

Then the question for me becomes, why am I not doing that for the relationships that are still in front of me? Ah, yes, my goal for 2017. To live intentionally and with purpose and to make the most of every moment with every person.

So I wrote the above part last week. This morning in my devotions, I was reading from Romans 8 and the triumph of the verses caught my attention. So often in Romans, we get hung up on Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good...." I am not doubting the validity of that verse, but sometimes in grief it can feel a little trite and cliched and you wonder if the people quoting it have ever really gone through what you are going through. Sometimes when you find it on your own and read it, it makes more sense and you can see it for what it is. But that's not the verse I want to point out.

Listen, just stop and breathe deep and let these words soak into your soul. I hope they will provide an anchor for you like they did for me this morning when I read them. It's coming from Romans 8:26-39

"For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."

God is on our side, He's praying for us when we don't even know how to utter words, when our souls feel barren and our words unutterable, He is there and He is interceding on our behalf.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?.....It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress,.....? yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I don't know if this brings salve to your hurting heart like it did for mine this morning. God is really for us, He loves me, nothing that happens is going to change that. He will pray for me even when words fail. That is such a huge comfort to me and I pray it does for you as well.



  1. Good post. So true. Been there. Done that. RS

  2. Thank you for this.
    I so often get hung up looking into the past at all the missed opportunities I had with Cheryl, and other friends that time, space, and death have lost... and then I forget that there are friends in the here and NOW that I'm missing great memories with for all my looking into the past. I'm terrible at Resolutions... but living intentionally is something that I can certainly do so much better at. Thank you for helping me remember.

  3. thank you for writing....I miss you guys too

  4. This is exactly the "salve" I needed right now even though it makes me cry. Thank-you so much for allowing yourself and your deep grief to help others.


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