Grieving is difficult. After the death of someone we love, our world seems to stand still for a period of time. Routines are meaningless. Thoughts are distant. Feelings are mostly numb. For believers the sadness is just as strong as the gladness. We know in our heads our loved one is now with God, and who wouldn’t want that for them? We feel in our hearts the pain of a huge hole that is just . . . deep. So when we are asked, “How are you doing?” by others, it is challenging to answer in truth.
My mother was called to her eternal home in August. My dad went before her 15 years earlier. As we were driving back to Kansas after the funeral, I sat in the back seat with my 13-year-old grandson. Totally exhausted from the week, I would try to lean back and sleep but inevitably I would begin to tear up. At one point, Darrell turned from the front seat and asked what I was thinking. I told him I felt like I had just buried both of my parents and the emptiness of that was heavy. My grandson wanted to know what that meant so here’s how I described it to him:
In my mind there is a long corridor and at one end is a large room. That room was where I loved to be because it was bright, safe, fun, and happy. It had been in my life from the beginning. When my dad died it seemed like the light was not as bright, but it was still a happy place and brought comfort for me no matter what I was going through. The memories I experienced there would warm my heart even as new ones were made. It was a very important room for me. That day after the graveside service for my mom, I walked away and felt as though I had gone back into that room. I took a long look around, cherished the amazing love and heritage that I had received from that room, and then I turned the light off and closed the door. The room will always be there – full of memories that are precious. I now focus on all the other rooms that have bright lights on in my mind. Some have been there for a long time and some are new. All of them are a part of who I am, and I find joy in each of them. My grandson’s response was to let me know that I and Papaw have a room in his mind too!
Grieving is difficult whether it is a parent, child, spouse or friend. We all have “rooms” in our minds that have been occupied by special people who collectively made us who we are, and closing the doors to those rooms is humanly painful. The spiritual joy and anticipation given to us by Jesus continually reminds us that our mansions are awaiting our arrivals and the “room” in which the Spirit dwells will always have the lights on!