Eleven years ago today, my husband of 30 years, my best friend, the father of my children and a very creative minister left this life for a better one. Over the years he has continued to impact lives for the better by the memories shared of him and I continue to count it a privilege to keep his memory alive. People have often asked me if it gets easier to which I respond, “It never gets harder.” In fact, when someone chooses to share a remembrance of Jim or tell me they were thinking about him, it does not make me sad. It does not remind me of my loss. Instead, it makes me feel less lonesome for him and a little bit more seen. I am blessed that others remember and miss him too. Even more, I am reminded that grief and loss impacts all of us at different times no matter who we are. A grief shared is a grief halved.
In Harry Potter Luna and Harry have the ability to see Thestrals because they have experienced and accepted the concept of loss and death. I don’t see thestrals but I do think I see things differently than before. Profound loss has changed my life in varied and inexplicable ways. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if Jim was still here. Would I have finished my PhD? Would he be thinking about retirement? Would we have bought a home? I have no idea. Loss is a dark and unknown path that has at times taken every ounce of determination I could muster to keep going, in part because I had to and often because I didn’t know what else to do. After awhile I have regained my equilibrium and found an inner strength and resiliency I didn’t know I had. I think the most surprising thing I have learned is that pain and loss is illuminated by power of love. The most amazing thing I think of is that I had someone worth missing. The love we shared didn’t die because Jim died, it is still real. His love lives on through the children we birthed, the community, the friends and family relationships we shared and it continues to impact and influence my days.
I know I was loved by Jim, that I am loved by many, especially my family and friends, and I worship an amazing God who is Love! In my favorite allegory, Much Afraid has the seed of love placed in her heart even though she is warned that love and pain go hand in hand. God purposely allows us to be brought into contact with the bad and evil things that He wants changed. Perhaps that is the very reason that we are here in this world, where sin and sorrow and suffering and evil abound, so that we may let the Lord teach us how to react to them, so that out of them we can create lovely qualities that will live forever. That is the only really satisfactory way of dealing with evil, not simply binding it so that it cannot work harm, but whenever possible overcoming it with good. When I choose to trust Him, especially with the hard stuff, I find He wastes NOTHING! Everything is for my best interest and His greatest glory.
Everything is going to be okay until it is perfect one day.