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What I've Learned About Death

Four years ago, the day after Easter my beautiful mom (my best friend in the whole world) passed away unexpectedly.

She was an incredible woman with the best hugs in the world, and a sense of humor like no other. Her death was devastating to me and to my brothers. Not one single day goes by where I don't think of her or completely and totally miss her like crazy!

My peace is in knowing she is in a better place, whole and healthy with God. Still, death can be scary and confusing to those of us left behind. I learned so much about death with this horrible loss. Maybe what I'm about to share will be an encouragement to you.

 

Death is Eye Opening

It’s something we can’t pretend to have control over.  God carefully chooses when He will call each of us home to be with Him.  It can happen in a split second, unexpectedly, or be a long drawn out process.

Not knowing when it will happen is why it’s so important to take time to be fully in the moment with our loved ones.  Pick up the phone and call.  Stop by and give a hug.  Love fully today. This very moment. Don’t wait. Say the words you need to say.

Death is Heartbreaking

We never fully know the extent of our love for someone until they’re gone.  The moment a loved one dies, our mind begins to process what’s happened.  Images and memories fill our thoughts.   Anything to grasp for one last word, touch, or experience with the one we’ve lost.

It hurts.  The pain of missing that person is nearly unbearable.  It’s okay to cry.  It helps to pray for God’s peace.

Be aware of your surroundings, too.  I learned God finds ways to show us comfort in our loss. Whether it’s a beautiful heart shaped sunset shining through the clouds or in a persistent monarch butterfly hanging around, the Lord is always showing His love.

Death is Confusing

When it’s sudden and unexpected, it’s normal to want answers.  It’s human to want to understand what happened or how it could have happened.  It’s even normal emotion to want to blame yourself or someone else for the tragedy.

“If only I had…”

It’s okay to seek answers.  But it’s important to remember those answers will not bring back our loved one.  Blame only spreads anger and does no good to anyone trying to heal from loss.  Accept the unchangeable circumstances and allow everyone to grieve.

Death is NOT the End

Paul teaches in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that death is not the end.  When Christ returns, all believers – dead and alive – will be reunited, never to suffer or die again.  In John 3:16 Jesus promises that those who believe in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.

Death is the doorway to something better and more beautiful.  However for those of us left behind with an empty pit in our gut, it’s easy to feel like death is the end. Immersing ourselves in the word of God and in prayer helps us remember God’s truth.

It’s also important to celebrate past memories.  Our loved one’s passing doesn’t mean we should forget the reasons we loved him or her so much.

Death is Learning to Cope

Like a revolving door, people in the community, from church, school, and circles of family and friends begin to visit those grieving.  They show up with food, supplies, love, hugs, discussion, support – it lasts for days and weeks, in some cases.  Those grieving will never grieve alone.

The most profound advice I’ve heard about how to cope with death were words spoken from an older widowed woman.  “Take it one day at a time.”   Yes, one day at a time.  That’s all we can do.

Also, remember grief presents itself in different forms.  Some choose to laugh about the good times, others seek alone time, and some need to cry in the arms of other loved ones.

Life is fleeting.  Today.  This very moment, is a gift.

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