When someone you love passes away, it is hard. And I think it’s always harder than we expect. It’s hard when we have to do the little things they used to do, because it’s a reminder that they aren’t there to do those things anymore. It’s hard during holidays when we want to go visit them but we can’t. It’s hard to see other people with their grandparents, parents, children, friends, whoever when we have recently lost our own.
I often fail to notice the little things they do until they stop doing the little things. I will find myself expecting the yearly birthday card. It never comes. The $10 I got every birthday and Christmas… that won’t come either. I look forward to those visits on Easter, once or twice during the summer, on Thanksgiving, around Christmastime, and maybe another time during winter break or spring break. I wonder if my parents planned anything with them. Nope. Oh yeah, they’re not here to be visited. I miss the corn that was always cooked to perfection (You could taste the love that went into it). I miss the 20-minute phone calls asking if my grandma needs more ink for the printer or food or anything else. I miss sitting next to my grandfather and being with him, even if he thought I was someone else because Alzheimer’s had erased his memory to several years before I was born.
I might never understand why people close to us die. I might never understand why 5 year-old children are taken from their parents or why young adults die in their sleep. Here is the good news: we don’t have to understand. It doesn’t really sound like good news – at first. But it is. It is good news because it takes the pressure off of us and puts it onto a God who does have a plan. It isn’t easy, as well all know, because it requires a lot of faith in God. We have to believe that He does have a purpose for the death of the seemingly healthy 19-year-old who died of a sudden heart attack and for the death of a grandma when it was least expected.
From my personal experience, death can be what leads people to Christ. Their Bible is discovered when going through their belongings. Scripture is read at the funeral. The dying person lives a testimony of faith all the way until death. Dealing with their death causes renewed faith in Christ, because there is nowhere else to go. This doesn’t really make it any easier. It simply gives us a reason to trust God more.
Death is hard and confusing. We won’t always understand why someone had to die, and that’s ok. We might miss them every day for the rest of our lives. But God allows death for a reason, and we need to trust that He is working and doing things that we can’t see.