Earlier in my journal I’ve spoken to the help that friends have been as we’ve walked through grief. In addition to this new understanding of friendship I’ve caught a deeper vision of community through this loss.
The experience of another’s death, the living out of grief, is intensely personal and likely one of the loneliest things I’ve faced. No one else can exactly understand what I’m struggling with. Just as our relationships with each other are unique to the two people interacting, our grief at the loss of a person is unique. I knew Becky as my middle daughter. We talked about things that she didn’t speak about to anyone else. I got to support and encourage her through some super difficult things and had the distinct pleasure of helping her keep her eyes on Jesus in her difficulties. I know that each of her sisters and her dad had unique relationships with her and shared things that I don’t know about. Because of these different relationships, in a way we mourn a different Becky, hence the isolation in grief.
That said there is also a universality in grief. Everyone who hears of our loss is touched and immensely supportive. The sheer volume of prayers of grief, support, and encouragement has been amazing. With these sentiments have come too many cards to count, meals and offers of meals, practical helps, and many, many hugs. The broader community has offered these condolences and helps – in Jacob’s town meals were brought in, an additional refrigerator was delivered to Jacob and Becky’s garage, some acquaintances moved out of their home so we could stay in it while in town, and many offers were made for childcare and other support after things settled back to ‘normal.’ The church has been amazing – in Corvallis our church worked to facilitate our every wish for the memorial service including a wonderful meal and a place for the family to congregate, people are contacting us continually with practical helps and just to listen to us and pray with us, our responsibilities to the church were readily and ably covered and time to heal has been generously extended to us. I’ve watched people we love very deliberately do the dance of being there for us while respecting the times that we’ve needed to grieve alone. Over and over I think “What do people do who don’t know the Lord; who aren’t a part of His church?”
I am an individual and I mourn as an individual, but an individual wrapped in a warm, loving community. This blanket of love and support keeps my grief tolerable and gently woos me back into daily life. “Lord, remind me of the beauty of Your community carrying my burden during this season of my life. Use me to support others as they experience the isolation of grief.”
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2nd Corinthians 1:3-5