Several of my friends, old and new, have lost loved ones this summer, some blood relatives and others created family. As heartbreaking as it has been to see so many grieving and broken, there's been a sense of community created out of these tragedies, a new family of those touched by loss. It's been different for all of us. I lost Nanny to a car crash. Another couple lost their son to a tumor, to illness. And yet another, the most recent, lost his grandfather to effects of old age. For each of us, there's been a common bond of not knowing how to respond, to react to the absence of those we held so dear, so close to us.
The life insurance checks Nanny left to me came in this past week. While there's a certain relief that my private student loans and revolving debt are paid off, the numbers don't add up. I can't see how such an amazing woman can be summed up in such a miniscule figure, although not miniscule in its effects on my financial life. Now that we're down to the remnants of the sum, I'm forced back into a place of deep loss, despair, and heartache. Simultaneously, I can't express enough thanks and gratitude to all those who have stood by me these past couple of months, for letting me cry, be needy and codependant, and lose it at the oddest moments.
We all find a new normal after such terrible losses. For some, that normal is less and less pain. For others, the pain only increases, it would seem. We ache over that which will never be - the hugs and affections, the conversations, the discoveries and new growth, the gifts manifested in the lives of those we loved. We mourn over not hearing their voices, seeing their expressions, feeling their arms and touches, experiencing the laughs and joys shared within our circles.
Despite having an amazing significant other, a great school community, an awesome family, and a fantastic church home, I've felt oddly alone this summer, mostly because the loss of Nanny hit me at my very core. She was my grounding point here on earth, the person whom I trusted the most, who loved me more deeply than any but the Creator, the Divine Parent. I start school in less than a week, and already, I find myself anxious about not having her to call when I'm writing a paper or a sermon, studying for a test, wrestling with a theological concept, or simply just experiencing growth and transformation.
Her phone is disconnected, her shell buried deep in the earth, slowly transitioning back to the dust, the elements from which she was created so intentionally, having been knit together in her mother's womb only to turn out to be the most amazing lady I've ever known, loving with abandon, unconditionally, simply yet deeply. Her home, the house I spent so many summers and winters in, sitting, reading, singing, talking, eating, sleeping and crying in, is going on the market soon for sale.
I read and outlined Wesley's sermon, God's Love for Fallen Man, recently. In it, Wesley talks about the benefits and advantages of sin having entered humanity through Adam. He says, "If Adam had not fallen Christ had not died." Because of the fall of the first parents into sin, the way was paved for God's glory to manifest in the person and form of Jesus. Because of the fall, we are actually able to know more happiness and holiness, in this life and in the next, than we would have if sin had not entered into all humanity through the first of creation. Wesley speaks of all this while still giving credence to the physical and emotional pain and suffering that we all experience in this temporal world. Odd as it is, this makes sense to me, for in those moments of deep despair and heartache that I've felt this summer, I've tended to go back to the Redeemer, to feel his embrace, his heartbeat, his peace. And so I find solace in these words captured by his Beloved Apostle:
'See, the home of God is among mortals. God will dwell with them; they will be God's peoples, and God Godself will be with them; God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.'
To all those who have experienced loss this summer, please, have hope. Know that while the pain is present, redemption is coming and that right quick. Know grace. Feel love. See hope. Rest in the Creator's arms, feeling her heartbeat, her lifebreath, her gentle, empathetic embrace. We will know love, for love has already come to be with us and in us. So say we all.