Recently a friend of mine lost her sister. Seeing all the sad words she wrote and hearing of her loss flooded my heart and mind with memories of having lost my own sister just a few years ago. When you lose someone so close, a multitude of questions present themselves. What happens after death? They ended one life, but now start their eternal life. The life they once lived no longer exists, but now something completely new is taking place. Do they still know what I’m doing here on earth? Can they hear us? Are they in Heaven? What’s that like? What is life like after death?
Unfortunately, there is no way for us to get answers to these questions. But what about life for those of us left after the death of a loved one? The life we have always known will also no longer be the same. All we have left are memories of that loved one. We’ll no longer be able to talk with them. There are no more memories beyond this point to be made with them. We can never again reach out and hug them. No more will we feel their touch, hear their voice, see their smile. Life after the death of a loved one changes for everyone, forever.
“Time heals all” is often said when people feel hurt. That was really the last thing I wanted to hear when I lost my sister, and even now I refuse to share that phrase with people. While it may be true to some degree, I have my qualms with that saying. Time certainly forces you to deal with the loss. Time allows you the moments to take it all in. Time can be a good thing and sometimes time can be the enemy during loss. After all that shows how long it’s been since you’ve seen that lost loved one. That’s one more year celebrating the birthday of them without them. Thanks to time I’m now older than my older sister. No, I can’t say time heals all. Time is simply time.
So what then, for those of us now living life after the death of a loved one? It’s been 5 ½ years since I lost my dear sister at the age of only 38. The pain doesn’t hurt any less today than it did Jan 18, 2009, when she left us. In fact, I think the tears come more easily now. The sadness seems to be worse with each passing year. I see her children from a distance having to grow up without a Mom. There are many days I long for the nightly phone conversations we had, just sharing our day with each other. It’s heartbreaking to gather together and take a family picture, knowing she is no longer in our pictures. I never knew such pain, hurt, and emptiness until the day I lost her. But there was something that allowed me, and continues to allow me, to deal with this passing. And I have no idea how anyone could ever deal with the passing of a loved one without this. Although family and friends are a great strength, it wasn’t that. When going through a hurt like that, there are no words and no amount of hugs that can heal. The only thing I found to get me through this was my relationship with Jesus Christ. I have truly found Him to be my comfort. When I lay in bed crying, you know that cry that can’t seem to be consoled, that cry that lasts for hours, He is where I find strength. No, I don’t feel His physical touch. I don’t hear His audible voice. But that’s the thing, in times like that, in such deep hurt, a physical touch or a soft word doesn’t always help. The hurt is deep within and only God can touch those areas. Only God can see beyond everything and know what we feel at that moment. I can’t really explain it, and I guess that sums up the wonder of God, but He has a way of touching and healing the deepest hurt. He is able to somehow begin to fill that emptiness. I know the hurt and the emptiness will never go away completely, but I’m so thankful that I can find relief in my God. I can find rest, comfort, and strength during my darkest hour. I remember an old song that says “no one can touch you like Jesus can”. That is so true. Only He can touch the very heart of a person and heal the deepest hurt.