Have you ever had to cope with the death of someone you love—a parent, child, sibling, friend, or pet? I have a friend whose mother is dying. It’s hard. It hurts. And it’s holy.
I’ve been there. I sat days and nights in the hospital with my mom, and I followed the ambulance as it brought her home for the last time. Christmas was a week away and gifts and decorations were still waiting for my attention, but those final few days with mom and our family were precious.
I know how the story will end for my friend. It won’t be easy. Endings always require grieving. She’ll look back and treasure the years she had with her mom, and she’ll look forward to the joy of reunion that is scheduled in the not too distant future. Pain, sorrow, regret, life, love, and laughter will all mix together to help my friend process the experience and evaluate her journey.
“True Measure,” by Helen Lowrie Marshall, stands as one of my favorite poems during times of grief and reflection. It quiets my soul.
How long we live is not for us to say;
We may have years ahead—or but a day.
The length of life is not of our control,
But length is not the measure of the soul—
Not length, but width and depth define the span
By which the world takes measure of a man.
It matters not how long before we sleep,
But only how wide is our life—how deep.
Have you ever grieved the death of someone you love? If so, what did you find that helped to quiet your soul?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis