Two days ago my brother-in-law's mother died. His father died less than four years ago. Both endured long struggles with terminal illnesses, and now their two sons, Jeremy and Pete, are left in this world without their parents. Yes, they are grown men, but they are still too young to have lost both of their parents. When my sister Christy told her almost-six-year-old son that Grammy had died, he simply asked, "Already?"
Death is a strange and terrible creature, yet we are encouraged to view it with hopefulness, if the deceased was a Believer in Christ. I do believe this, but I don't think that necessarily makes it easier on us between here and Heaven. When someone we love dies, we miss them so very much. It hurts so much. And there's nothing at all in the world that we can do to bring them back. All we can do is relish the memories we have of and with them. And in Jeremy's and Pete's case, they can be thankful that their parents are no longer suffering in their earthly bodies that were so very sick.
But it still hurts.
Jeremy and Christy have two young boys. While the older son will have a few memories of his grandparents, the younger one won't have any, since he's only two years old. And Pete and his wife June haven't had any babies yet, which means that the paternal grandparents will never have held or known or even met their children. This breaks my heart, and I feel so spoiled that my children know and have relationships with all of their grandparents.
I didn't know Jeremy's and Pete's father very well, and I only knew their mother a little bit. She was a kind, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth kind of woman. She didn't want to be served or fussed over, but she'd be the first one to serve and fuss over others. She didn't believe in sitting still, so I can't imagine how hard it was for her when her body just wouldn't let her go and do anymore. I believe she loved her boys well, and I know how much they loved and admired her. I also know how much her grandsons loved going to Grammy's house.
In a couple of days, we'll have Barbara's funeral. It will be sad, and it will be hard. We just feel entitled to have our parents live to be really old and be able to see their grandchildren get married and provide them with great-grandchildren. But it doesn't always work that way. In fact, there are a whole lot of people who have lost both of their parents much earlier than this. And then again, there are plenty of people who have never even known so much as their parents' names. So I need to be thankful, even though there is death and grief. Even though it hurts.
I am praying tonight for Jeremy, Pete, and their families. I pray that God will comfort them in their sorrow and embrace them in their grief and pain. I pray that they will know and feel how much their mother/grandmother loved and cared for them and that, if she could, she would still be here for them.
There is no rhyme or reason in death. It simply is. But death is just as much God's creation as birth is. And that means that it is a beautiful thing, even if we can't understand it.