Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life and grief

I'm still catching up but moving quite slowly. Thankfully, all I have to do today is to finish the laundry and get it put away. Christopher did such a good job cleaning and organizing his room for the Open House that I no longer fear tripping over items to put his clothes away. :)

There are few times that having a chronic illness gets me down but the frustrations have arisen these past two months as I had to push through intense fatigue when traveling, the graduation preps, and definitely the Open House. It is all worth it as I look back and have wonderful memories of visiting our friends, our fabulous kids and grandchildren, and everything associated with the graduation. Making memories is one of the most blessed opportunities a person has to affect family and friends.

As I've mentioned before, I was quite young when I first read one of Edith Schaeffer's books where she talks about how fast life passes by us. I was a bride and she was a grandmother when she wrote that particular book. At the time, I didn't understand what she was talking about. I certainly can relate now that I'm the grandmother! It was also from her that I learned the importance of making memories and budgeting for them in both time and money.

My brother-in-law, "Uncle Gibby", has entered hospice care already. It was not that long ago that Jean called to tell me the bad news (and I had to get off the telephone so I could have a good cry). He has had a long and a good life but there will be a huge vacancy when he is no longer with us. He is one of those people who have a "larger than life" personality and the only family member who was on the computer as much as me. I knew something was wrong when I was no longer getting jokes forwarded from Tampa. A big hello to my niece, Brandi, who (hopefully) is reading this!

Before the car broke down, we had planned to visit my other brother-in-law this week, the one that was in a nursing home during the winter and made a surprising recovery (at least enough to go home for awhile). His daughter told us last week that we should see him soon as he has been having chest pains again. I guess such things happen when you are the youngest by many years in a family... you watch your family move on from this world.

The picture above is one of my favorites but I haven't used it for a long time, as it reminds me so much of our Storm Girl. Sasha is still with us but has slowed down a great deal. Two of my very good friends both have kitties that they know will not be around long and both of them... long time best friends to their owners (or rather, the people whom the cat owns).

Saying goodbye to anyone, whether they are human or have fur, is the hardest things we do in this world. Mankind was not created to be separated... either from others or God. We were made in a Garden and filled with Life. Someday that will all be restored and that is the Hope of Glory... that which gives us the strength to go on when we know we will see a person again.

Do I always have great faith in an Eternity? Oh, no, there are days of weakness when I get frustrated at life as it is and stomp my feet at God and ask him if "this is it?"... is Life just a cosmic joke and someday we lay down and go to sleep... wither away with no meaning whatsoever?

Thankfully those times are very few and far between. Most days I do walk in faith, believing this life we live is a schoolhouse where lessons are learned and rewards are being sent ahead, where our Treasure truly is... in Heaven. I believe in a New Earth to come... one that has been restored in all ways. I believe I will have a perfect body with no need to draw my tummy in when buttoning my skirt. I believe I will see those who have gone on before me... human and with fur.

I believe there is music I have never heard and colors I have yet to see. Not to mention chocolate and other delicacies not known in this realm. I'll finally be able to retain what I've read and remember a name. Perhaps I'll even be able to understand math.

That's what keeps me going every day in these Shadowlands. I believe in Aslan. I believe there truly is a Narnia. The names are changed but the places remain the same. It has all been promised...

But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed.

You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again.

At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!

Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now? It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power.

But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

I Corinthians 15: 51-57 (The Message Bible)

Photo: After Hours by Janet Kruskamp; available at allposters.com

8 comments:

Carrot Top said...

I'm so sorry for the impending losses you are facing!! Praying for them and for you. Heaven by Randy Alcorn is a wonderful book, if you haven't read it.

Sending you lots of love and hugs! (((Brenda)))

Misc. Muse said...

Brenda- it's so hard to say Goodbye- my heart goes out to you. Words are never sufficent for times like these. hugs.

Suze said...

My parents are very elderly, and lately I've been moved - by the Holy Spirit, I think - to write them a letter that expresses all my wonderful memories and how much I love them.....and how I look forward to eternity with them. I'll be sending it enclosed in a card this weekend. It's SO important that they read this and know these things before they leave. I've only had to say goodbye to pets so far - and grandparents long ago when I didn't understand and death seemed something only for the very old. Now that I'm in my 50's and life is moving ever faster - and the world is ever drearier in so many ways - I SO understand your post. You articulate it all so well - I love this blog. Thanks for posing the problem, but then - how wonderful - telling the solution, which is heaven and eternity.

DebD said...

you said:

I guess such things happen when you are the youngest by many years in a family... you watch your family move on from this world.

I'm in the same situation and its something that I have thought a lot about lately. Prayers for you and your family. It must be very hard.

nanatrish said...

Brenda, you have written this post so beautifully. I am so sorry about your brother in law. Life is so short. I work with death every day and there is no special formula, no special age. I think it's so sad when people don't have the Blessed Hope. I started losing loved ones as a little girl. My daddy died when I was 11 and death has not been a stranger to me. It always hurts, sometimes deeper than others. There will be a day when pain will be gone and we won't be tired anymore. We won't have to push ourselves anymore and we will have sweet energy. Thank you for reminding me of that coming day!

Firefly Nights said...

The problem with a chronic illness or chronic pain is that it just won't go away. It's always there, nagging at you. On the rare days that I wake up and don't hurt from arthritis I can immediately tell that something is different before I even move. I guess it makes one appreciate it more.

Some people let chronic problems get them down. Others make the best of it. I'd say you're in the second group.

I'm sorry about your relatives. My parents were much older than most, so they and my aunt and uncle are all gone. No brothers or sisters. Just a few cousins in their 70s. I don't know if I'd like it, but sometimes I wish I was in a family like The Waltons.

Anonymous said...

I thought you were going to write that Sasha had died. Slow is good...
joanna :)

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

The ultimate change...death...is so hard on us because it's not the way God ever intended it. I know that you believe in Narnia and Aslan and that is our hope and our promise. Draw close, lean hard, the Lord will see us all safely home.