I have been a part of a lot of clubs in my 33 years on this earth. The worst by far is the "My Parent is in Heaven" club. My father passed away two and a half months after we got married. It was sudden, unexpected, and an awful crash course in how to be a mourning adult and keep your young marriage together at the same time. (My husband passed that test with flying colors)
I'll never forget that morning, my husband and his sergeant giving me the news, my legs becoming useless, having to call family members and give them the news. For a while I went into business-mode, having grown up around and working in a funeral home, I knew there were plans to make and documents to sign. I had to contact the Multnomah County Deputy handling this so that I could find out where my dad's body was. We needed to get to Portland. I stood in the shower and bawled. I stood in our closet incredulous, thinking, "How do you choose an outfit to go make arrangements for your dad?!"
I will also never forget the people who reached out to me in those first days and weeks. A lot of it is still a blur. My dear friend Erin offered us a place to stay in The Portland area that night and got me pizza and wings. When we got home the next night, Zach came over just to chill with us. Kristi came over just to sit with me. My cousin and her family made the trip from Seattle to Eugene for the service. And countless others sent cards, texts, Facebook posts and messages. It all was a great show of love that I appreciate to this day. But you know what? It still sucked.
Two parents went to heaven this week of people I love dearly. Even though I never met my friend Peg's mom, I feel like I knew her a little because of the stories I had heard about her for years - my mom had been friends with her growing up, and the stories Peggy tells about her family are epic. Ed I did know. He and his wife were a model of Christian marriage to me, people who adopted me as a surrogate daughter just because I was friends with their kids. Wonderful people who have told me they love me and reached out to support me countless times over the past 20 years.
My heart is broken for my friends in a way that it couldn't be if I hadn't been through it myself. Having the hope and knowledge that we will be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven doesn't change the fact that it hurts and it's hard and that life will never be quite the same. Even Jesus experienced the pain of loss when he heard of his friend Lazarus' death, "Jesus Wept." (John 11:35) Through the next year they will go through emotional changes that they've never felt. They will experience everything in a different way. The good news is, they will get through it, and God will place people in their life to help them do that. I am already praying that my ears are open and my heart is obedient to do whatever He needs me to do for them.
A 30-something living life in the PNW. Wife, Jesus-follower, Business Owner, Hockey Lover, Craft & Glitter Obsessed.