August 23, 2012 4 Comments
Recently, I stood by the grave of someone I loved so much, her death has temporarily immobilized me. I walked away from her grave, helped by another beloved one of hers, and fell into the embrace of others too who mourned her loss. That is how it should be. What if, at that moment someone crosses your path whose mind is on other things; like how the fact that your stand on certain life principles is different from theirs, gossip about another mourner’s escapades, or how you are not mourning properly ‘according to their standards’? Sometimes its stories about the one gone by, how their actual and perceived vices do not warrant your obvious distress at their passing. Attempts to shame you somehow for mourning, because you ‘should set an example as a pillar of strength by denying how you really feel, so that others may heal faster…ahem…pretend better too.’ The more sadistic ones would play down your relationship with the one gone by; after all there are closer family members/friends/colleagues from their perspective and they would not probably mourn you as much as you are doing them if it was you who had gone on ahead of them. Did that ever happen to you? Graveside robbers, casting a slur on your season of mourning. You cant imagine how many attempts there have been to distract me from mourning this friend and others gone before her. But am holding steadfastly to the gift I had, and searching God for all the pearls from a beautiful book, authored and finished by God.
I should expect it; but honestly, I never do. I always think that each group of mourners to which I am conscripted due to my relationship with a loved one gone to rest, would be different from the last. In a way, they are. But in many ways, they are heartrendingly similar. Perhaps because I am in it; God forbid!
Someone you loved, were intimate with, or vaguely acquainted with dies. You attend the wakes, to both give and receive comfort and support. To be in a place filled with those who loved your beloved, where you can share memories, and sometimes learn new things that help settle a few uncertain things about your relationship, or their personality. I would love to believe that this descriptions fit most of those who attend those wakes. BUT without fail, there will be those whose relationship with the dearly departed may or may not have been close, who take this as an opportunity to raise up their ‘regard’, incredulously, by tearing down that of another or others. They are found standing and closely watching the mourners, and murmuring running commentaries about each one who comes in. They are the ones who will bring to everyone’s attention how the fact that you once had a disagreement with the departed one, forgiveness, healing or reconciliation could not possibly have the effect of allowing you to feel sorrow at their passing. They forget that every authentic relationship will have more than one moment of disagreement, because each person feels safe enough to be themselves in the presence of the other. They are the ones who call the character of particular mourners to question, making it difficult for them to find and give comfort during this critical time. Most of the time, they themselves have unresolved character issues which they project on others in that place. It is as though the passing of a loved one is not painful enough; they MUST add some drama to it to make it so. Unfortunately, they distract the mourners successfully enough, for them to engage in bitter, sometimes petty, but often vehement and irreconcilable bickering that have no place in a place where wisdom beckons each one to consider the brevity and beauty of the gift of life. What happens is that months and years later, we are left with festering emotional wounds that could have received effective first-aid had each been allowed to mourn in dignity when death first happened on your loved one.
Death has taught me, that no one can take away the truth of your relationship with the departed; and you should not allow anyone to do that to you. Romans 14:16 warns us sternly that “Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.” The books are indeed closed on that one. Your journey is complete. Both the beautiful and the ugly about your association are part of a painting a book so thoroughly complete and unique and that should never be judged against another one’s story with your beloved. Your beloved was loved and loved others too. Decency demands that each is allowed to review their book, their painting, for the gift that God proffered in bringing you together. There is always something for you to keep, something precious. ‘Grave robbers’ try to steal that away by causing unnecessary agony and confusion, by making you feel that they have the power to take away the truth that was your story. Don’t be fooled. They are mostly just afraid that their own story may have been incomplete, and that they did not journey well enough with the one gone. If there was satisfaction, why would someone lovingly mourning their beloved rattle you so badly?
I write this for those that are embattled while mourning a loved one, that have been distracted by thoughtless and malicious activities of ‘grave robbers’. Focus, there is a time for EVERY purpose under Heaven. This is a time to mourn, to walk THROUGH this valley and come out wiser and stronger for the victory gained through the Comforting Presence of God Who does not accuse you. Mourn. Dont try and explain away something as unique as the friendship, the relationship you were blessed to have with your dearly departed: Mourn. Accept God’s closing of that book and armed with the strength of your experience, determine to live another day. The book is closed.