I have written a considerable amount on grief and loss over the last several years as a result of my Mom’s death in 2011. (Here and here for example)
This season has always been one of those painful reminders of the loss of my mother for three reasons. Magnolia’s, Mother’s Day, and the anniversary of her death. My Mom loved Magnolias and I used to pick them for her frequently. They are in full bloom this time of year. Mother’s Day was this week and of course that is a very “in your face” reminder that my mother is gone. Then June 3rd rolls around and the date just carries extra weight.
A strange thing happened this year though. It can only be described as the absence of the often dull but sometimes sharp pain of grief. In place of this emotion would be best described as acceptance. The final stage of grief (or so I have read).
Acceptance of death is a very interesting thing to experience. I think we all can intellectually accept death. To me this is better described as understanding. For example, I understand how planes fly but I would be a dangerous pilot. We all understand things, but I think experience makes acceptance mutually exclusive, especially in this situation.
For the past 6 years, I have sought to actively engage my grief and I believe it has been a very healthy effort. I would encourage you to do the same once you do experience loss or if you are currently dealing with it. Acceptance will come in time. And if it is anything like mine, it will surprise you.
In some ways, this acceptance has given birth to a new sort of joy. I experience joy by knowing what eternal life actually means. Joy through knowing just a tiny glimpse of what faith in Jesus Christ means. Joy through knowing my Mom walks healthy and free and I will see her again. This knowing is like knowing someone as opposed to knowing about someone. This knowing is like knowing your closest friend. This knowing is like feeling the heat on your skin versus just hearing it’s 100 degrees outside.
With this knowing, you just feel it in your soul.
Viewing Life through Death
The acceptance of death informs my view of life. It shines a spotlight on my life and forces me to ask a very significant question:
Where or in Whom do I place my trust while living? Faith in Christ was made real in my Mom’s death, but what about in my life?
I read Psalm 25 this week and verse 1 exploded off the pages (amazing how that happens sometimes).
In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
This verse captures the answers to the question perfectly. And I think in this season, this season of acceptance, I now know a critical truth of faith in Christ.
I place my trust in the Lord for my death, and I place my trust in the Lord for my life.
And just like before, with this knowing, I feel it in my soul.