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Death of a hope


I’ve been encouraged to write again – for my own healing, but also to encourage those who meet me at points in my journey.

My grandfather’s passing has been very hard and very hard in ways I wasn’t expecting. Somehow, I thought it would be easier than my grandmother’s a few years ago. I had had the chance to say goodbye and that I love him over the phone one day. It was awhile ago, but it was a special moment. I made arrangements for a private viewing to keep funeral drama to a bear minimum. I was able to read a letter saying goodbye and a few of the things that I wanted him so badly to hear. And I had a moment that maybe now – as he rests in the life beyond here – that now he was able to hear me. I went with a friend to the funeral and hung out with some cousins’ wee ones when the service became too much. I slipped in, I slipped out. Noticed eventually, but there was no direct interactions. I even got to hear one of my brothers speak and two of my sisters sing – and that is a gift I treasure.

The funeral marked more than a life well lived. It marked the death of a hope that I have clung to for a long time. I have longed and prayed for a restored and reconciled relationships with my grandparents for many years. I believed it would happen – in God’s timing, but that it would actually happen. After awhile, I realized that what I wanted – that they would come to know and understand my pain – would likely never happened. I changed my prayers – I wanted a relationship. We didn’t need to come together and talk about my experience. We just needed to come together.

Right until the day the Lord took my grandpa, I was waiting for him to call me or to ask for me. I stayed by my phone, I cancelled everything else so that I could be just minutes away as I knew this time round with a deep hunch inside that there wasn’t going to be much time.

That phone call never came. And now, it never will. Death is a sharp ending to an 8 1/2 year long prayer.

What do you do with that?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told to just pray – and reconciliation will happen.

or to just trust God, and watch, you will be restored with your grandparents.

I can’t tell you the number of times people have reassured me that when you are aging and near the end, you often reflect over your life and want to tidy up loose ends, and make peace in relationships.

Those words – meant to comfort – are devoid of meaning as I read a goodbye letter to a body whose soul I knew had gone from it.

I have so many questions – about God, about prayer, about life. And words are simply not sufficient. Yesterday’s Scripture in the Celtic Daily Prayer lectionary was the one from Isaiah that God’s ways our higher than ours. I can’t say I find comfort in that right now.

But maybe there is a glimmer of hope – that the death of my grandfather and the hope I held – is part of something that I don’t understand. But God does. For his ways are higher than mine, as are his thoughts.

  1. Krista
    October 20, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    So glad, Elizabeth, that you went to the funeral and had your own private viewing before hand 🙂

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