Over the course of my career as a nurse I have witnessed death first hand. I have comforted countless families as they maneuver through the uncharted territory of fear, sorrow, and unspeakable anguish. But I’ve also realized that it doesn’t get any easier with a lot of experience. Death of a loved one is a heart crushing encounter full of very personal suffering. And a few weeks ago, I still found myself asking, “Why Lord?”, when a young wife and mother was taken from her two small boys and husband on Christmas Eve. But it’s then, I must remind myself that just because my prayers weren’t answered like I wanted, doesn’t mean that God somehow made a mistake.
I’ve seen this first hand with my elderly parents the past year. Almost weekly, a close friend, neighbor or acquaintance dies…usually from old age, but that still doesn’t lessen the blow of their passing. Even though death and dying is a part of life, we still mourn and experience sadness in our loss. The Psalmist here is lamenting to God that his friends, parents, or maybe children are gone…leaving him in a very dark place in his life. We all at sometime in our lives will feel just like this Psalmist…grappling with the loneliness and sorrow of losing loved ones. And that’s OK. Giving ourselves permission to grieve is a healthy and vital part of the grieving process. It’s OK also to feel lonely. That person we’ve known so well has left, and what remains is a void…a gapping hole in our heart of palatable sadness. It’s at that time that cherished memories help to bridge the chasm of grief. Sharing those memories with others is also a way of slowly moving out of that dark place into the light. For God knows exactly how you feel…He understands your pain…you may feel lonely, but with Him, you’ll never be alone.