Today will be a hard day. Today, we will bury my uncle.
Early Friday morning I got a phone call that he had passed away very unexpectedly in his sleep. I am devastated for my aunt and my cousins. The most heartbreaking thing about losing a loved one is knowing that hole they left will never be filled. No matter what happens, it will never be the same. Life has shifted course and it’s a different road we’ll travel now. The road without him.
We rejoice in knowing that he is with the Lord and that we’ll see him again. But our hearts are heavy, so, so heavy with the ache of this loss.
What do you even say to someone who has lost their best friend of 40 years? There are no words I’ve been able to come up with. I recently watched a video on the difference between empathy and sympathy and there is a striking difference. Empathy allows for that silent agreement that there is nothing – said or done – that can make it better, but comfort in recognizing the incomprehensible sorrow that person is going through. The illustration was like this:
Today I feel compelled to tell you to connect with your loved ones. It’s sad that it takes an unexpected death to prompt me to do this but life is so short. Don’t just “hug your loved ones”, connect with them. Make time to be with them. I wish I’d spent more time with my uncle.
Don’t let life pass by without making those you love feel important. Take the time to make memories with them.
This past weekend, my college roommates and I got together and went to the Virginia Tech football game. We made an oath of sorts when we graduated to get together at least once a year. To make it a priority to plan ahead and schedule time to see one another, to travel the distance between us, however far apart we may be, and reconnect. It’s been almost 10 years since graduation and we’ve been there for each other’s weddings, gotten to know each other’s kids, and shared in the joys and sorrows of life together. Because we made it a priority. We could have easily let this weekend pass us by… Because it was too much trouble to arrange childcare or travel or had other things take priority. But instead we cleared our calendars and we were so glad we did.
Connect with those who matter most. And if you’re reading this, allow me to capitalize on this moment and invite you to know Christ. He is our ultimate comforter and protector and wants a personal relationship with you. I know I’ll see my uncle in heaven and I take great comfort in that. My cousin put it so beautifully:
“I’m thankful that death is not the end and that through my faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I will get to see my Dad again one day. If it were not for my faith, this pain would be unbearable. I pray for those of you who do not know the Lord to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior who will guide you through the painful trials of life and it will be the best decision you will ever make!”
Please join me in covering my aunt and cousins and our family in your prayers today, and in the days to come. Pray for supernatural peace and comfort to overwhelm them.
Also, while I’m asking, please pray for Brandon today. He has his very first Remicade infusion today. I’m upset that I won’t be able to be there, but Brandon has been so understanding and insisted that I go to the funeral. I’m so grateful to his mom for rearranging her schedule so she can be with him, and to my sister-in-law for helping with the boys. We aren’t sure how Brandon will respond to the treatment, both immediately and long-term, so we covet your prayers that he would have no adverse reactions and that it would be successful!
It’s been a crazy ride, this life, the last little while, but more than ever now I’m so grateful for the people I get to spend it with.