Family · God · Grief

It’s Been a Year

Dear Lauren,

It’s been a year since you left this world, and we miss you still the same. Our hearts ache when we long to pick up the phone and hear your voice on the other end. It’s been a year of holidays, birthdays, and special days without you to celebrate them. Life has proven that it does indeed go on for those of us still on this temporal soil, but it sure would be much better with you in it.

So much happens in one year; we hustle about in a maniacal flurry of activity. And yet it feels like just yesterday that we found out your health took a drastic turn and time seemed to stop. We lived life in the following months in slow motion. You were always so strong and never one to complain. We truly thought we had more time with you. We still have dreams about you, you know. And you are as alive and healthy as ever. And we hear your voice again. We love those faint glimpses – when the veil is lifted for a fleeting moment and we can see and hear again, beyond what this present world has to offer.

How do you properly commemorate a death day? Birthdays are filled with celebration, songs, cake, and presents. Holidays, we eat more food and give more presents. But the day of someone’s death…what do you do? Nobody tells you. There are no glossy magazine covers featuring that.

Because holding each other, talking about that day and reliving its events, and crying together just isn’t that glamorous I guess. Too bad really, because that’s where real life happens. I think this must be why human beings are so afraid of pain. We haven’t been shown how to properly grieve. We don’t want anyone witnessing the more painful parts of our stories. We are only interested in featuring the highlight reel. Like in the movie Inside Out, we don’t give sadness any room. We don’t want her having a say-so. We chase after happiness, looking good, and feeling good and make it our god.

But this year has taught me that God dwells even in the most painful places. Where maybe He feels most welcome. “Even though I walk in the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me,” David writes in Psalm 23:4. And again in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Jesus isn’t afraid of our pain. He is there with us in the midst of it. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. He is our comforter. You know this now, in full, where we only know in part. Seeing God face to face, you now know this in full, even as you are fully known.

And so with a lack of knowing how to properly acknowledge this day, I write. I believe it’s what you would have wanted me to do. The Writer’s Digest magazine subscription you bought for me has stopped coming; another painful reminder of your absence. I haven’t renewed it yet. And Surprise! I am still slack about writing. Maybe because I don’t have you here hounding me about it all the time! We miss you so much. Thank you for all the encouragement. The endless cheering. The coaching. The pep talks to do more. Be more. Create more. Not because you weren’t pleased with who we were, but simply because you believed that much in each of us. In people. Thank you for the the faith you had in us and the faithfulness you modeled for your family. And most of all, for the incredible son that you raised. My husband – the man who stole my heart and still holds it. I am so grateful that I get to do this life with him.

Until we meet again,

Angela

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