Practical ideas for helping someone (even ourselves) deal with the death of a loved one? We could make a list but let’s put the first thing first.
ROMANS 12:15 – “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
The prior blog “DEATH PART ONE” was designed to be encouraging. Hopefully it gave some clear focus on life following death and how to get there.
But today let’s step back to a different place … today we are at the raw shock of receiving the news; we are at the funeral service, we are beside the grieving widow, we are the bereaved son or daughter of our precious parent …
The temptation is to pack hope in a tightly compacted sandwich and force-feed the mourner. But this trembling person, who may have tears streaming or simply a weeping heart with a vacant stare to their eyes, needs the first thing first.
At the age of thirteen, I looked into the casket of my stepdad, “Jeffy”. A part of my heart was frozen with fear – what was our life going to look like? My mom, a rock of faith and a strict disciplinarian, was a mess. People streamed everywhere and I’ve never liked crowds.
Finally we came home and I headed for my room where I sat in my rocking chair and contemplated the carpet. I could hear voices and even an occasional laugh floating up the stairs. What could they be laughing about? I knew there was a cake downstairs but I didn’t understand why. Cakes were for parties. At some point I trembled with rage and demanded to know why there was cake. We had cake, but would we have food?
Days went by. I went back to school. Kids didn’t know what to say. My music teacher said she was sorry. At least someone finally acknowledged “it” - death. I tried not to cry. My life changed in dozens of ways. What was going to become of us?
I was already an oddball because my parents were divorced (I’m old and no one was divorced back then). I had a different last name. Now I had a death in the family. I was a teenager and wanted to look “normal”. Well “normal” had exited.
One day after school in the distance I saw a man who looked like Jeffy. At first my heart leaped and I started forward then stopped. The one thing I was clear on … I would not see Jeffy again. I cried.
Allow people to mourn.
Take some time to read the beginnings of the book of Job. Slowly take to heart his incredible loss. God knew what was happening and why. Job did not. Job sat down in the dust of the earth and mourned. His friends came to comfort and for the first seven days simply sat by him. Note - it wasn’t until they opened their mouths that the problems began.
The final installation – Death Part Three – Moving out of the valley.