Death is a strange thing. It can sneak up on you without notice or it can loom over you for what seems like an eternity until you finally succumb. Either way it leaves those left behind to grieve for the loss of a loved one and pick up the pieces to create a new normal.
My husband’s aunt died last Thursday night, she was 48. There are so many more eloquent ways to say it; she passed away, she went home, she took her last breath…but death is not eloquent. It’s not pretty. It’s raw and real and scary. It’s something we all must face but don’t have a clue what to expect. There’s no one we can go to for calming words on how to prepare…because death is final. No one comes back from it…if they do they didn’t fully die then did they? I guess it boils down to fear of the unknown.
Everyone dies. It’s a part of life. For if there is no death then there is no life. Aunt Krista’s life was cut short in our book. But in God’s book she came right on time. It wasn’t a total shock when she left us as she had been battling cancer for the past three years. Yet as much as you try and prepare yourself for losing someone it still hits you hard. I was quite surprised at how hard it hit me. I mean, she wasn’t even MY aunt! What right did I have to be weeping as much as I did? But there I was trying desperately to keep it together for my husband and for the family. And although I prevailed at not losing it at the house after she passed I still found myself finding quiet corners to shed a tear.
By Saturday I was emotionally spent. I had cried all my tears and felt all my sadness for the husband and kids she left behind. I figured I was safe to move on and keep to my obligations of the day, one of them being an all day leadership retreat for MOPS. I was doing just fine until they began singing a worship song, one of my favorites, to prepare our hearts for the day ahead. The song was “In Christ Alone” and as we sang the last verse I began to weep:
“No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny…”
I realized Krista had nothing left to fear. She was standing in the presence of her Lord. She had no more pain or sorrow, only joy. She was finally getting to experience all the things we were singing about.
Although the actual act of dying may not always be pretty I know that where Krista is right now is gorgeous beyond words. Of this I am very sure.