When you lose someone dear to you, there is no experience like it.
That moment, should you be by their side at their death or receive the news second hand, never leaves you. They have left, but the moment of their leaving will not. Funny, that.
The firsts begin. The first time you enter into the space they should be but aren’t. The first time their voice should be heard or witnessed as sign, yet is silenced or stilled. The first time you meet with fellow bereaved ones, not knowing if you should share a hug, a tear or a smile.
Do you carry on as normal, when there is this massive tear in the fabric of your life? How do you? How can that even be expected of you? Why is the world not frozen in time while you stop and wail Superman style – only you can’t spin it backwards to reclaim your Lois Lane. How do you do anything but stare at the gaping hole that is left in your complete circle of loved ones and rage at the injustice. They should be there. They should have had more time. We should have had more time.
It has been a long time since I have yearned for a church, but this week as I have mourned a great, desperately sad loss, I felt that pang of *something*. Regret? No. I don’t regret the path I have taken. Absence? Maybe? But I quickly understood the fellowship I needed was right where it always is for me, my online community and my faithful fellows and friends God has given me to journey alongside. Space? Perhaps, but some candles and quiet time sorted that one out. Teaching, communion, etc, etc.
I have it all. Whatever I need, even though I no longer have physical, traditional, on-site church, I have it all. I have been loved through the shock of my bereavement just as dearly as I ever have been.
I still don’t have who I lost on Saturday. But I have found more certainty, belonging and peace since their death because of what I have experienced due to it. More is to come; mourning is messy, prolonged and tiring. But I know I have an online community of wilderness Christians and a God who has my back to get me through.
When you lose someone dear to you, there is no experience like it. Devastating and comforting. Draining and uplifting. Cleaving and gathering.
We have much to learn from the rites of death if we embraced them as much as we do the rites of life.
Peace be with us.