It was not my husband, dad, brother or granddad that died and still I feel loss. Loss mainly for those that are still here and suffering - really, really suffering because they loved a man that sincerely loved them back. It's so rare in this messed up world. Christian or not, young or old, rich or poor - to have someone that loves you sincerely is a rare gift indeed. Alan Sr. loved his wife. He loved his children. He loved his grandkids. They loved him back.
Attending a funeral is one thing. Getting everything prepared, living in the house of the deceased one's loved ones, trying to be helpful but also trying to stay out of the way - nothing could have prepared me for the last week. Still I think the worst is yet to come in a lot of ways. Last week we all had each other and sweet Chloe to distract us and make us laugh. This week you're just alone with your memories and a few latent cards or visitors.
Still there is light. Light in the eyes of a friend who picks you up from the airport, takes you to your car an hour and a half away, refuses any payment for gas and then gives you homemade cakes, breads, cheese, fruit, chocolates and meat from his wife that is meant to sustain you over the next 24 hours when all the shops are shut. Light when that same friend and your pastor help to jumpstart your car that has died while you were away by rolling it down a hill. Even when that friend was missing his own leg he was still willing to help. Light in the hugs and concerns of those you see at church that ask you how you're doing and really want to stay and hear your answer. Light in the family that kept your dog on no notice and took care of arrangements for your pickup and gave you fresh fruit from their garden when you got home. Light in a mom and dad and two sisters who offer help, love, lots of prayers and anything else really you could ever need. And most importantly light in the eyes of the man God gave you for a husband who even though he's hurting as much as you've ever seen him hurt takes the time to tell you at the airport, "I don't care if we live in England. I don't want if we live in Germany. I don't even care if we live in Georgia. My home now is wherever you are." Despite it all we trust in a God who really does care. He really does love. He really does have a purpose and plan for our lives and it's at these times we really feel it. Putting one foot in front of the other. That's what we'll do for a while and that's ok.
The day of Alan's funeral my devotion, Day by Day with Billy Graham said this,
"Title: Jesus is our Comforter
Christ is the answer to sorrow. When Harry Lauder, the great Scottish comedian, received word that his son had been killed in France, he said, "In a time like this, there are three courses open to man: He may give way to despair and become bitter. He may endeavor to drown his sorrows in drink or in a life of wickedness. Or he may turn to God. There are thousands of people who have turned to God, but you may be still carrying your burdens. God begs of you, "Cast all your care on me, for I care for you" (I Peter 5:7). You who must go through the valley of the shadow of death, you who must say goodbye to those whom you have loved, you who suffer privation and misery, you who are unjustly persecuted for righteousness' sake - take heart, take courage. Our Christ is more than adequate for sorrow."
“The death of a beloved is an amputation.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed