Thursday, June 2, 2011

Death and Dying

I don't mean to scare anyone off with the title, but this is something that has been on my mind this week. Matt's grandfather (Pa Pa) passed away earlier this week and it got me to thinking about death and what it will really be like for me when I experience it on a very close level. I have had a grandparent and great grandparents die, and even though these were painful losses I just don't think they will equate to the loss of a parent, spouse or child. Luckily I have not had to experience this yet, and I hope I won't have to for a very long time.

The death of Pa Pa really lit a fire under me when thinking about what will be in store when I eventually do lose my parents. You spend your entire life with these people that you constantly can turn to for advice, ideas, and unconditional love. More than anyone, we know our parents will always love us. Even though I am an adult with children of my own, I still am someone else's child. I am still childish is some sense of the word. And once my parents are gone, so is my childishness to some extent. I think that the moment when both of my parents are gone and I become the oldest, the person of authority for my family, I will be scared. Not having an older person to rely on, to be there for me, that will be hard. It will be something terrifying and empowering at the same time. It will be the last and greatest step in my life's independence.

As for my husband, losing him to death is a matter that reduces me to a stage of weakness I cannot fully explain. I know that we will both die, and I hope that (God willing) it will be after a long and fruitful life together. In witnessing the death of Pa Pa, I found myself not thinking as much about him as I was about his wife. The one who was left behind. I believe in Jesus and I am confident that when my day comes I will join him in heaven for a life of eternal worship and serving of the Lord. What I am scared of is being the one who is left behind if Matt dies before I do. I cannot imagine the ache and loneliness I would feel having lost the person I was closest to on this earth. The person with whom I have shared joy, pain, birth, death, and everything in between. The hole it would leave in my heart would be cavernous and gaping. I cannot perceive a more hellacious existence here on earth than one without my husband in it.

But as I thought about how much it would hurt to lose my husband, God put a new idea in my heart. Marriage and the loving of your spouse is God's way of teaching us how to love Him. Unconditionally, faithfully, and mercifully with a whole lot of grace thrown in. I think of how much I love Matt and would ache at his passing, and then I think of the fact that God loves me more infinitely than that and He will NEVER leave my life. He will be with me until my dying day and beyond. He would be able to fill my loneliness and calm my fears if I was ever to lose the person I love most in this life. This is why loving God is the number one priority in my life. He will never leave. He will always persist. He will always be trying to win me to Him. And He will always be there. I don't have to worry about dying before Him.

So even though the events of this week unleashed a swell of emotions in me, I finally feel some sort of peace after a couple of days. Losing any member of my family would unmistakeably be a tragedy filled with pain and hurt. But in any loss, God will be there. He will take my hand and let me know that I can endure and that I can go on loving because He is still in my life. And He will make me hunger even more for the day when I finally get to meet Him, surrounded by those who have gone before me. And if one of those people happens to be Matt, then I will be so excited to kiss him hello while bowing to worship together the first love of both our lives, our Heavenly Father.

1 comment:

  1. JoAnne - I was chatting with Matt yesterday at work. I told him I just admired the two of you. We have 2 16 year old twins, about to be seniors in high school, and a 2 year old. I can't imagine life with 4 under 4!! May God give you a renewed strength each and every day!

    And - if you ever want to schedule a play date - let me know.