“Death, comes unexpectantly!”
A quote from the Disney Pollyanna movie that sadly, couldn’t be truer.
Before my son, Caleb, died a sudden death, I never gave this topic a thought, ever.
It was something that happened to other people, not my family.
Yet the topic of sudden death sits on my mind almost daily as I contemplate the numbers of people dying of Covid, dying on the streets of our country for a variety of unnecessary reasons, especially those who are still dying of an unintended drug overdose, like my son. Or, as I reflect on the numbers of people who died on 9/11, and who died in the many wars throughout history, my mind cannot fit it all in. It is incomprehensible really.
And then, to think of the numbers of the hearts that are broken, like mine.
Sudden death is not a new thing.
It is however, a life-altering, shock-paralyzing thing for those of us left behind.
Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, teachers and co-workers, …my heart aches with yours: past, present, and future, because sudden death just happens. It shreds the heart in a way that no other death does because there is no preparation for the emotions and the loss.
Pain. Tears. Wailing. Anger.
…in my body, …down my cheek, …out my mouth, … in my words, …
Piercing, stinging, whipping, and annihilating the heart of my life.
This is grief. For those of you who have lost loved ones in a most sudden, unexpected way, I see you and I hear your guttural question that takes the form of the three-letter word: W.H.Y.
Honestly, I can answer you: I do not know why. Why my son, or why your loved one. But this I know:
It hurts deeply.
I also know that God knows your pain and He cares because He loves you. This fact does not make the hurt any less, yet, in my experience it gives me strength to face the days, weeks, and years ahead. What matters for me is how am I going to live going forward; this is the test of my faith and character. Who, and whose, am I?
For me, I am a daughter of the Almighty King who sits and rules over all the earth. He knows it all. I do not have to pretend with Him, cuz He knows. I am His daughter, which means I am loved, forever and always no matter my mood or emotions. Who & whose; so important to identify.
It is in this claiming of my identity that I have the strength to go on living well.
I find the most compelling way to live is by dying my own death daily. To put others first and to pour out my love in a way that reflects the love of Jesus in the best trajectory I am able for each day. In this way, the love in my heart that grieves has a place to go and be useful and purposeful.
What does that look like?
Preparing. Tickling. Working. Appreciating.
… to serve others, …the downcast spirit in others, … in practical ways to meet the needs of others, … the life of others in mine…
Praising, trusting, worshipping, and adoring the Lord as he heals the heart of my life.
Sudden death is a tragical thing to endure, that is certain.
I am so sorry if you too have experienced it. Just remember who & whose you are, and if you do not know… I can tell you. You are a child of God who is dearly loved. Look to the Father for all you need.