If you follow my facebook page, you probably know that my step-daughter Jennifer passed away this past week. Jenn was only 42 years old. Having difficulty breathing and pain in her chest, she was rushed to the ER, but an hour and a half later, she was gone, the result of a pulmonary embolism that sent her into cardiac arrest.
Jenn’s passing has taught me a few things that I would like to share with you. These are in no particular order.
It is possible for pain and peace to co-exist. While there is much pain in the loss, there is also peace. The supernatural peace that comes from God. The peace doesn’t replace the pain, it doesn’t crowd out the pain, but it lives alongside the pain, making the pain bearable. The bible says “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7. I am experiencing this kind of peace.
While Jenn’s passing was totally unexpected and a complete shock to us, IT DIDN’T CATCH GOD OFF-GUARD! God has numbered our days before our days even began, and he has prepared us to do His work. I believe Jenn accomplished her work here on earth and God was ready to call her home. It is His timing, and He is in complete control. This didn’t happen because God let go of the steering wheel!
Life is short; make the most of it. Pick up the phone and call that friend you slipped out of touch with. Hold your kids a little tighter and kiss them more often. Tell you love them. We aren’t promised tomorrow.
Don’t be afraid to say something to someone who just lost someone. There are no words to change the situation, but there is comfort when someone just shares your grief by simply saying “I’m sorry for your loss” or “She was so _______, and I”m going to miss her too”. Don’t be afraid that by saying something you are going to ‘remind’ me of the loss. I may be going about my business as normal on the outside, but trust me, I didn’t ‘forget’. It’s on my mind. And if I well up with tears, you didn’t make me cry. I will cry anyway.
Hugs are healing! So many people who visited or attended the viewing and/or funeral hugged me, even several people I didn’t know. But there was a bit of healing in every hug. When you don’t know what to say, just give a hug!
Tears are part of the grieving process, and the healing process. If I cry when I’m with you, just know that I am on the road to healing. Just hand me a tissue, hug me, and let me cry. I’ll stop soon enough. – Thanks 🙂
There is comfort in company. Having someone close when the raw pain of the loss is so fresh is comforting. Be there when someone you love loses someone. I realize that people tend to avoid being around someone who just lost someone so close because they don’t know what to say. You can provide comfort by just being there, you don’t even have to say anything. Just be there.
There is comfort in a casserole. Nourishment and rest are so important, yet the thought of preparing a meal seemed insurmountable. Bringing a meal to the family will always be appreciated.
There is comfort in a card. I’ve always said that making Sympathy cards was not something most people want to do, but I always said they are the most important cards we as card-makers can make. Make a stockpile of sympathy cards and mail them out!
Social Media has made the process of letting people know much easier. But be respectful and allow time for the family to advise the family in person before posting anything. Be respectful and don’t use social media to gossip or speculate on what may or may not have happened. Social media has made it so much easier for people far away to share their condolences and for friends and family to share memories, pictures, etc. Social media has also taken away a lot of the ‘in-person’ interaction. Post and comment, but don’t forget about the comfort in company or the comfort in a casserole.
Charitable Donations: While is is fashionable to make a monetary donation in memory of the deceased, if you are going to send a donation, consider a monetary gift to the family, especially if the deceased passed away without life insurance or a burial plot. Please don’t think that I am against making a donations to charitable organizations, because I am not. I support several non-profit organizations on a regular basis. However, there are many expenses, other than the obvious funeral expenses, such as clothing, travel, flowers, etc. If the deceased was ill, there could be tremendous medical expenses as well. A monetary gift to help offset those expenses is extremely appreciated.
Get right with God while you still can. The Bible teaches that there is a Heaven, and there is a Hell. Our souls are created to live forever, the only question is where. (He has also set eternity in the human heart… -Ecclesiatstes 3:11). The Bible teaches that “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” -Romans 3:23 and that “the wages of sin is death.” – Romans 6:23. Therefore, we all deserve death (hell). The answer to this dilemna is Jesus. “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9 Jesus forgives our sins, and then takes away the punishment we deserve (hell) and gives us eternal life in Heaven. Because of this promise of Jesus, I know in my heart that Jennifer is in Heaven and that I will be reunited with her in Heaven when it’s my turn to depart this earth. That is why I can have peace even in loss. God’s promises are true and dependable. I can bank on it. Many people send their adult lives planning for retirement, but don’t think about life after retirement. If you want to talk about eternity, call me. I want to see you in Heaven too!.
Thanks for listening to me. I hope that this may help you when facing a friend or loved one who just lost someone.
I did finally get my class schedule for July & August finalized and posted. You can find that here. And I will get back to posting some projects real soon. Thanks for letting me talk, that’s part of my healing journey as well!.