Oh my God. I didn’t think I would be here again this soon – but then who am I do be predicting such things. My grandfather passed away on Thanksgiving evening. I feel wrecked -and held together, ripped raw - and comforted. I loved my grandfather dearly, and he was the type that made each person he came into contact with know that they were valued, unique and loved. I am so grateful to have had him as my grandfather. I just never anticipated the reality of losing him, the evening before as he sat beside me at dinner – perhaps it is best, not to think on such things, to allow both love and loss, closeness and separation to wash over you wholly and freely as each ebbs and flows in and out of life.
Death is such a great insult to us. I couldn't breathe when I heard - I couldn't stop a flood of tears. I didn't want to be alone in a city 7 hours away when I got the call. I didn’t want there to be a last time to see his face, to touch his hands, to listen to his voice telling stories of his life, to give him a kiss at the car and wave as he drove away. I didn’t want to leave him to be buried in the cool October ground. I didn’t want to be at my grandfather’s visitation, seeing his picture on memorial cards, singing at his funeral, seeing his last photograph from the night before he passed projected onto the back wall of the church. I didn’t want to see my mother, my grandmother, my uncles and cousins to lose him – the community to miss him – yet here we are, and he is not. I had to keep reminding myself that though the motions that we all went through seemed so surreal and foreign, that though I could see his body in the casket, that my grandfather was already gone. Gone.
It is not that I do not draw comfort in the promise of life in Christ. Oh I do believe it to the depths of myself - I cling to that hope, I trust in that hope, that promise.
Rather, it is that, in loving others here and now, the pain of loss here and now is searing, gaping, staggering. It spills over in my tears – love that no longer has this man to pour into. I don’t doubt that love is what we’re made of, is what we’re meant for, what we’re called to, what takes us through these times, is what resurrects us from this wrong and sends us soaring beyond right, is what fills us over flowing.
Love friends. Love in the embraces and words you have today - in smiles and kisses shared while you’re loving, and in the tears that seep out when you’re not done loving. Love friends. Love. Love, never fails.