Death is hard. I do not have any fancy words to describe the “hardness.” It’s just hard. Recently, I went to a wake for a young woman, who was well-known in our community. Although I knew it would bring up some emotions for me, I wanted to go to the wake to support the family. In high school, the young woman’s mom supported me as I applied to colleges and prepared for the SAT’s. Her mom is a strong Black, Christian woman who encouraged young people to pursue their aspirations. So, when I heard her daughter passed away, I knew that I would have to go to the wake or funeral. I also knew that it would remind me of my parents’ grief and of my own grief. It would make think about my sister who died at a young age from a long-term illness.
Emotionally, I am much better than I was when my sister first died. God’s love soothed me while my heart bled. But I still have grief moments. There are certain songs, days, or movies that make me think about her. The wake brought up emotions that I did not want to think about. I wanted to put my emotions in a box, wrap the box up and send it away. But I cannot hide from my emotions. I have to allow God to soothe me. At times, I can be a stubborn woman who thinks it is better to be strong than to weak. I cannot be strong on my own, as the Bible tells me that God is my strength!
In my grief moments, I can look to God even when I want the moment to just go away. I am also glad that I can talk to my parents and friends about how I feel. In the end, I believe that God is in control, but it can feel complicated when a young person dies. I think about everything that person could have been. Actually, I had this same conversation with my mom about my sister. We were talking about what she could have done or who she could have married if she had not been sick. My sister was a fashionista and she could have been a model or a fashion designer. She was beautiful and kind. I know that she would have been a wonderful mother if she had children.
As hard as grief can be, the emotion has taught me some lessons. Before my sister’s death, I was sympathetic when someone’s loved one died. Now, I have empathy. I think about all of the emotions that the individual or family is experiencing as they deal with their loss. Their loss makes me think about my loss. My loss brings me to God.
When my sister first died, one of the cds that I listened to was Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Beauty WIll Rise.” His cd was on repeat as I screamed and cried. I have said it before, but music always comforts me. God knows that music is like medicine for my heart.
Chapman has experience with grief as he lost his own daughter in a tragic accident. Chapman is real with God as he details his grief. He has questions and pain, but he has faith as well.
I love his song “Beauty Will Rise,” and I can relate to the following verses:
“It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed til my voice was gone
And watched through the tears as everything
came crashing down
Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
and sift through the ashes that are left
But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams
we have this hope:
Out of these ashes… beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes… beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning…
in the morning, beauty will rise”
In all realness, grief is miserable! But God is present through the loss of a loved one. For the family of the young woman that I mentioned earlier, I pray that God’s comfort will be so real and close to them.
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