Nothing in life can prepare us for the death of a loved one, especially when it is a tiny child who has delighted its parents and relatives.
This past week, a dear friend (she’s fine with me writing about this- though with no mentioning of names) suffered the immense and traumatic loss of her 10 month old child to the quick onset of pneumonia.
So many went to their knees in prayer and cried out to God for this child. But in the last few days of her tiny sweet life, her little lungs couldn’t take the stress. Suddenly… she is gone.
Ecclesiastes 3:2,4 describes that, “there is a season for everything, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
Whether death results from a sudden accident or a prolonged illness, it always catches me off-guard. Death is so deeply personal and so stunningly final. I find that nothing can emotionally prepare me for its arrival.
Oh my yes, I’m stunned, but mostly heartsick for my dear friend. And the baby…. oh how soft and beautiful she was! How can she be now gone?
With every death, there is a loss. And with every loss, there will be a deep and profound grief.
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines “grief” as a, deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. It originates from the Latin word “grevis” or “gravis” meaning “heavy”.
So, grief could be described as a heavy, devastating injustice to our souls.
Grief doesn’t come and go in an organized, specific passing of time I’ve found. Just when I think the pangs of anguish have gasped their last breath, another wave sweeps in and I am forced to revisit the memories, the pain, the fear.
Sometimes I do everything I possibly can to resist the demands of grieving. I want to avoid this fierce, yet reverent journey. I fight against the waves of anguish, terrified of being overwhelmed, of being discovered, of becoming lost in my brokenness. (Yeah… this is pretty transparent and vulnerable writing folks!)
When a traumatic loss happens we can feel disconnected from everything around us. Our thoughts scatter like the wind, with very little to hold them down. Our “emotional skin” feels intensely fragile to the touch.
Our culture tells us to move past this grieving process quickly. Take a few days, weeks perhaps, to grieve, but for goodness sake, don’t stay there too long!
Grieving can make those around us extremely uncomfortable. Friends sometimes don’t know what to do with our pain. Loved ones struggle to find the right words to comfort our aching wounds.
Yet grief, as painful a season as it is, is a necessary part of our healing. To run from grief is to run from the very thing that can calm the pain of our aching soul. Grieving is the process God uses to bring us to a place of wholeness. Grieving is His great gift to us. It is a necessary part of our journey. Healing.
The hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” is one I’ve been deeply strengthened by many times in my life when loss or sorrow threatened to take me under. I’ve been humming it the past week as I grieve for and with my dear friend.
I want to fix this…change it! Go back in time and reverse the way this trauma played out!
Oh Lord…. help.
As I finish my cathartic writing here, I’ll share where the hymn I mentioned was “birthed” from.
Take time to read this information and then the words of the hymn will mean so much more to you. They sure do speak to me right now.
The hymn was written after several consecutive traumatic events in Horatio Spafford’s life.
The first was the death of his son at the age of 2 and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago that was extensively damaged by the great fire).
His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire.
While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone …”.
Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.
“It Is Well With My Soul” ©
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot,
thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.