Holy in the Daily

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Encouragement for Coping With Death and Dying

bright yellow sunflower among gray dying ones on a post on grieving at Holy in the Daily
photo by Michelle Dennis

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

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Heather

    Beautiful. Thank you Susan.

  2. Lilly Green

    Tears, the silent nearness of friends, time, the Word . . .

  3. Jeanette

    Thank you, friend, for these timely, wise words.

    Yes, I am “that” friend.

  4. Susan Gaddis

    I wrote this just hours before your mom arrived on Heaven’s shore, Jeanette. Praying for you this weekend, and I know the days ahead will hold tears and laughter. Love you.

  5. Jeanette

    I love you too, Sue. I am comforted by having friends like you who understand, care, and reach out. Losing the one who gave me life is a stark reminder of our mortality and our aloneness on this earth if we don’t have hope. But in my mom’s own words: “this is but a brief separation…”

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