We said goodbye to Elijah today. The church was filled beyond capacity, spilling out into the hallways and stairs and onto the green outside. So much sadness, heartbreak, tears and grief. This amazing young man, who died too young, and his family… Loved so deeply by all those who know them. We are grieving for them and with them.
The depth of this grief surprises me. He was not my son. Yet he was all of our sons. They are not my family. Yet our community is a family. So perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me. Perhaps I should just know. We all lost someone today. We are all in mourning.
Grief also remind us…of past losses. It brings the pain and sadness we thought was gone, back into our hearts. And so our tears are tears of remembrance too. We grieve again for those we loved and lost. Grief it seems, is not something that really ever goes away. It’s within us always. It changes us, subtly and not so subtly. It lingers in our hearts, forever.
Today, I grieved again for Michael. My husband, the father of my son Paul, who died from cancer when Paul was only six. The pain of that loss sat with me in the church this morning. It stayed with me all day. And the memories came back.
The memories of those we have lost are a part of who we are forever. Michael will always be a part of me and my life changed in many ways for loving… and losing him. I see him everyday in my son. But I haven’t felt the grief again until today.
I wonder if there was still some grieving left to do?
12 years ago, in the blink of an eye, I became a widow. I also became a single mother. We had just bought an old farmhouse the year before he died. Suddenly it was all so overwhelming. I cried every night. I took care of my son everyday. I remember wondering how I would do it all?
I think I put my grief on hold. I hid it away so that I could be a mother, a teacher, a homeowner, a daughter, a friend, a sister. I pushed it down inside. Deep down where I thought it would stay. But grief is not like that. It must be felt. It must be experienced. It must be allowed to be.
My tears are for Elijah, but they belong to Michael. My heart is broken for Elijah’s family, but it is also breaks for my son. I am in mourning. This time I will grieve.