My mother died when I was thirteen. I
remember thinking that I should be crying but no tears came. Those came later, during the funeral and later during the burial. So began my journey in grieving.
My grandfather died a few years later after a battle with thyroid cancer. Then at sixteen my estranged birth father succumbed to lung cancer.
I walled myself off emotionally, physically numbing my pain with food.
I did not know God. To be honest, I did not want to know Him. I was too busy finding comfort in being angry. And listening to my Cranberries CD over and over. This was the nineties and their music spoke to my soul. In fact I still have those songs seared into my brain.
I was lost in a world of pain and grief.
Then I started to get to know God. I began to unravel all those years of pain and grief.
This year has been tough. I have personally been to at least three funerals. The difference between grieving now and back then is simply hope. I have have hope in a Savior who makes all things whole.
Hope as we hurt.
Hope as we question.
Hope as we learn.
I have had the privilege to witness God working in this with members of my church. First to see them fully trust in what God has in store. Not their plans but trusting in His. Second Glorifying our Lord in the midst of their pain. Of being willing to allow our church family to gather around them, instead of folding inward.
To mourn together.
To rejoice in the promise of the Resurrection as a family.
Grief will always be a part of my life. But what has changed is my hope and trust in my Lord and Savior. To understand the greater story beyond my own plans and desires. That in the midst of such pain can also be such Joy.
This scripture at the top keeps coming to mind in this season. His plans are greater than my own.
I said goodbye to a friend the other day. My dear Hershey boy was an old man at 24 years old. He had not been eating much and had gotten down to a tiny six pounds. And so I made the best decision for him, to let him go. To end his suffering and to prevent any unnecessary poking and prodding.
The first night home was strange. His favorite resting spot was now empty. I found myself petting it a few times during the night. No more will I hear his gentle purring next to me. Or his begging meows for his weekly serving of wet food. No more scolding meows when I would come home and not immediately pet him.
He was my best friends cat first. The first time I met Hershey he was teasing her blind dog Woofer. His constant companion was another cat named Jake. The two would get into trouble outside. Hershey starting up fights, leaving Jake to finish them.
By the time he came into my care, he was older and more settled. My friend could no longer care for him and I offered to take him home. I had never owned a cat. He was wary of me as he did not know me. But soon we found our way.
That was about eight years ago. In that time he became my ride or die. It was him who was there for me when sick late at night. He gave me cuddles when it hurt just a bit too much to be alone. Having him in my life was an assurance of love. In turn he showed me what it was to love.
Right now, I feel alright. I do not think it has fully hit me that he is gone. Sunday after I got home from church was when he got his wet food. Maybe it will hit me then. My only regret was not wiping away the gunk from his eyes one last time. I did kiss him and stroke his one ear just so. Quickly the anesthetic was injected, and he lay down. Then he was gone, free from pain.
I am not sure about adopting another. It will not be for at least a few months at least. If I do it will definitely be from the local shelter.