A thought hit me today that really put me in a sombre mood. During lunch, as Zac was talking to no one in particular about the animals on his farm, I realized that I have no grandparents still living. All four have died, and I’m only 17. You know how sick of a feeling that is? Everyone else still has a few or even all of their grandparents still alive. Grandparents are such awesome people, because they love you like their children, but you usually only see them enough that they keep a special place in their mind. They’re like your second set of parents, but yet going to their house is a vacation from home and a fun time. And although there never seemed to be anything interesting to do at my grandparents’ homes, I still enjoyed going over there because it was still different than being at home. I’d find something to keep my interest and have a great time; because although everything seemed to be old, there was so much of it that something was bound to be of interest.
But now that’s all gone. All four of my grandparents have passed away, the first being when I was 6 I believe. And it’s mostly because of the age at which they had children and the age that my parents had children. There’s a big gap in between, and so my parents and grandparents are above the age that seemed to be “normal,” at least among my classmates and such all through school. My parents are about the age as some other people’s grandparents, and I know that I’ll be having to face some of the challenges of caring for aging parents at a younger age than some others might. That’s going to be hard. My dad turned 58 in December, and so I’ll be 29 when he’s 70. That’s not a happy thought. My sister will only be 32 at that time.
Sometimes this whole issue of death gets me thinking about what the whole purpose of this life is. I mean, I’ve dealt with this before, but I mean, I think about why certain things happen to certain people. Why are my grandparents all dead when other’s get to enjoy them for so much longer? How come God chose this path for me? How come I’m in the position I am right now? They’re always tough questions. God’s plan isn’t always readily obvious; in fact, it rarely is until the 20/20 hindsight comes along and shows us. There’s always stories about how someone went through something hard and then a few years saw how it fit into preparing them for something else. But some things don’t seem to have any purpose to them. There doesn’t seem to be a reason for grandparents dying. It doesn’t seem to have any deeper spiritual meaning. Perhaps it will help me spiritually grow; however, the same situation has the ability to callous.
I was laying in bed last night and just thinking about all this. I’ve been through several deaths of family members and friends and such. I can remember attending at least 6 funerals. I was even one of the pallbearers at my grandpa’s funeral, and will be a pallbearer at my grandma’s as well. Sometimes, though, I have a tendency now to just gloss over death. It doesn’t affect me as much as tragic or horrible. Perhaps that’s a good thing; after all, everyone dies, and it’s an inevitable part of life. And I have the hope and faith that death is not the end. It is, therefore, only a tragic death if the person doesn’t go to heaven. That mindset is probably a proper one. However, it also seems to cause a lack of pity for others who are going through the grieving process. I really have nothing much to say to them. I’ve been through a lot of death and now it’s just like, “Yeah, they’re dead. Pay your last respects and move on in life.” That’s what they need to do, but that’s not what they need to hear. It’s far from sensitive to their grief. I used to feel grief. I was horrified when my first grandma died (one of my grandpas had already died by that point, but I don’t really remember that). I was only in Grade 2 or 3, and I remember crying as my mom told me that she had died. After that, it was my uncle, and then my other grandpa, for both of which the mourning seemed to decrease each time. I was definitely sad that they were gone; it wasn’t like I hated them or anything. I missed them a lot; I just either had no tears left or the grief just wasn’t there. Maybe I was growing up. I don’t know. But it wasn’t there.
Grief is a strange emotion. It’s a mixture of so much sadness along with a feeling of emptiness. It also adds confusion as one tries to picture how their life will continue on with someone missing from their life. It’s a sadness over something lost, but the truth is that love can conquer that grief. Sometimes I struggle over whether Christians should really grieve over the death of other Christians. If we truly love them, we’ll be glad to know that they’re in a better place, a place which they’ve prepared their whole life for to enter. I think it’s rather our flesh crying out for the emptiness, the absence of the person to be filled. But is it right? I really don’t know. It’s hard to tell what is human nature and what is simply inevitable. Christians are called to be like Christ. He cried when His friend, Lazarus died. But yet He also raised him back to life, and so why did He cry if He knew that He was just going to go and raise him from the dead? I don’t understand it.
Grief must be a human instinct in reaction to death or the sudden negative change in a person’s life. Grief cries out because of one’s utter lack of control in this universe. While we struggle for control, we realize just how little we have when death strikes. It comes suddenly and silently in some cases, and forces us to realize that we are hopeless without help from Someone who controls the universe and holds it all in His hand. We must all deal with the inevitable fact that everyone dies, and everyone must face death with courage, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. Confusion must not be allowed to reign supreme. That, I believe, is the key to the entire thing. While grief might not be evil in itself, it can become destructive if allowed to control one’s life. We must deal with grief and conquer it, and then once that has been accomplished, we must move on with stronger courage in life. Death of a loved one is only a setback which we must learn from and grow stronger.
There’s nothing in this world like having a good time to contemplate. Visitation is tomorrow afternoon and evening. I’m not going to the one in the afternoon, since I’ll be in school, but then I’ll be headed off in the evening, so I’m not sure if I’ll get much time to do a lot of other stuff. The funeral is Friday at 11:00 AM, and then this whole thing will be over with. I just want to get on with my life, and I don’t like having to wait to do so. I dealt with my grief long ago, and now it’s just time to pay respects to a woman of integrity who had a great life, and to commit her to a longer, greater life in heaven with the One whom she loves and has been waiting to see for so long. I think that’s the best part of the entire concept of death; it is not an end, but rather a beginning.