We can never fully appreciate the impact made by another person’s life until that life is finally gone. What arrives in these times of loss are the unique and tender memories of their presence. When a parent, a spouse, a child or a good friend make the final crossing ahead of us, we find ourselves left with a stunning and unfamiliar clarity created by their absence. We think we still see and hear them in the familiar places of our shared routine of life, but they are gone, now just a vapor-like memory of what was. These memories have a purpose. They are the spiritual ink and paper we will use to craft an epitaph of remembrance.
Sorrow pulls hard on our hearts in these times because our childlike thinking wanted us to believe the presence of a loved one would last forever. In the moment of realized loss, our childlikeness is starkly and quickly matured when we have to face the finality of death. We are like the first disciples approaching the tomb having heard, but not yet realizing what Jesus meant when He spoke of His future life beyond the Cross and Tomb.
Our melancholy in death is not meant to be the station for our grief because a resurrection is always waiting for us just ahead on the path to the tomb. The feelings we are left with after a treasured life disappears will eventually be transformed by time, faith and the love of God to become the engine driving the wheels of our recovery. The fuel for this engine is our thankfulness for all the goodness of life we were privileged to share with the ones we loved.
Death is never the end, for you or for those you loved because of the Resurrected One. In Him, what appears to be a finality is only the beginning of something new and unimaginably beautiful.