Trying to grapple with reality has been tough. I’m the person who would rather ignore sadness. I avoid books and movies with heart-wrenching plot lines and unhappy endings for this very reason.
But voluntary ignorance does nothing to alter circumstances.
And does no credit to faith.
I’ve heard it said that when a child passes away, it’s because they were too good for this world. I’ve never felt this to be more true.
When I think of Ben, I think of goofy faces. Belly laughs. And the softest of hearts. He was the first to go in for the hug. To help. To make you laugh. To hold his sister’s hand. To reach for his mom’s. And whose absence will continue to fray the strands of my heart.
There aren’t words to adequately express the pain that’s lodged itself in my heart. The brokenness. To be left standing bereft of any remedy, to watch your precious nephew endure the rampage of a malignant tumor is heart wrenching. To see its effect on your sister is even worse.
Our family has always been so good at being there. The moment hard times fall, we mobilize every resource imaginable to fix the problem or at least ease the pain. But these past weeks, we have all stood dumb-founded. Helpless. Unable to do more than huddle together, cry, and pray.
It’s hard to fathom the ability of life to continue. To know that we’ll move on. Go on with our lives. Be ok. I guess that’s the initial impact of grief. It saturates your heart.
The morning of Ben’s last day was so gray. I felt it before I saw it. Rain pelting the side windows. A muggy fog enveloping the house. The granular light filtering through the clouds was the only evidence of the sun that typically shone so brightly.
But the air was clean. The buds hindered by a long, hard winter were tentatively but resolutely peeking out of branches. It was the first I’d seen them since last year.
Spring is supposed to signal new life, not death. Last May, I remember thinking on the same conundrum after my grandfather’s funeral. They lowered the casket as the lilacs bloomed. It felt like such a contradiction. One I never dreamt our family would relive. Especially like this.
But as much as we can never anticipate tragedy in our lives—and detest its invasion with such a fierce grief that leaves our lives and hearts broken—this is not the end.
Spring does bring new life.
One of the greatest comforts to me in preparing to say goodbye to Ben was the assurance that he would be receiving new life. For those that know the Lord, death is merely a departure from the body we know. One of the token phrases of my favorite earthly saint has always been, “This body is rotten—I’m ready for my new one!”
This world is full of suffering. Pain. Heartache. Ben’s final days showed us more of it than any of us want to remember.
But he’s with Jesus now. The arms of our Heavenly Father embracing him now more than figuratively. How much is God sparing Ben in this world by taking him now? Neither do I want or have to imagine. Because he’s Home now.
We mourn his loss on this end. Deeply. We always will. I don’t know that I’ll ever see our family as complete without him.
We might have lost him; but he’s not lost.
God has him.
God has us.
He’s just holding us on different ends of eternity.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our family (Mindy, Andy, Jack & Meg especially) as we lean into God to grieve the loss of one of the sweetest gifts He’s lent us for the past five years.