We turn the pages of our calendars to October today. For some, it’s a joyful welcome to the new fall season. But for my dear friend Debbie, it’s a reminder she faces a month peppered with memories – both good and hard.
Five years ago today, her family welcomed the first grandchild into their lives. Inexplicable joy came in the form of a redheaded bundle delivered by her youngest born. For the next three years, pink exuberance took over the family gatherings.
Coming up in a couple weeks another more difficult date looms on Debbie’s calendar. Two years ago on an October Sunday morning, her granddaughter’s residency drastically changed. While her parents slept peacefully down the hall, little Eisley was ushered to her heavenly home without warning, without explanation and without a kiss good bye.
Can you even imagine burying a three year old – much less, your daughter, your niece, or your granddaughter?
My heart aches for the October grief this family suffers each year. Dates scream out the ‘what if’s’ as birthdays and meaningful holidays pass by. And the memory of leaving her little body at the cemetery – could there be anything more difficult.
As Debbie’s sister in Christ and friend, I apologize for trying to understand her grief – or worse, trying to make sense of it. Grief is painful. Grief is long lasting. Grief needs understanding and sensitivity.
Eisley’s memory is worth keeping alive no matter how hard it is. Debbie needs Eisley’s memory to be kept alive. So as her friend, I need it also.
CS Lewis said in his book Grief Observed, “The death of a beloved is an amputation.” This is hard truth!
The Holy Spirit offers comfort. The Word of God sustains. But we, her community and family – are called to be the gauze and tape. We squeeze with pressure until the bleed subsides. Each October the wound reopens. Each October my friend needs holding.
Recording artist Laura Story knows about pain and suffering.
Remember a friend today as you listen to her beautiful call to embrace our hard places. Please remember my friend Debbie and her family today too – October 1, 2013 – on what would have been Eisley’s 5th birthday. Pray for unveiled mercy.