A dear, sweet family member passed away on Sunday, my wife’s great-grandmother. She was 94 years old and had endured a long illness. Her care and generosity in life, and her living to know 4 generations of her family, made her passing very difficult for many people. In my 9 years of knowing her, she always had a smile on her face and spoke kind words.
As I sat in her house the day she passed, I looked around me at the family and friends who were present, many of which had been there all night the previous night and some that had been there multiple days during her decline, and wondered at the way everyone coped. Some behaved as expected, and others seemed to take on roles you wouldn’t expect.
Some took charge of coordinating aspects of the arrangements that were needed that day and for the service coming up.
Some swung into action to pick up, clean, and gather together items that needed washed, helping in very practical ways.
Some moved in lovingly to give words of sympathy and solace to the grieving that otherwise would have been difficult to compose or deliver, except that this was the suffering of loved ones they were addressing.
Still others were simply present to see, hear, and feel everything that was happening and bear witness of that day’s events.
Some acted naturally- other acted extraordinarily. But all acted in a way that comforted themselves and those around them. And I was glad to be there. The strength that comes out in times of loss is a testament to God’s grace and the love between people with uncommon care for one another in the midst of a common loss.