It Has Taken Time
I lost my twin brother, David, to cancer on November 11, 2014. He was 43 years young. Writing has been healing for me, and a friend suggested I share this piece.
When someone you love dies, church is hard, really hard. It took me a good six months to even want to step foot into church. I wasn’t angry at God, just so incredibly and deeply disappointed.
Ironically, though, even after David’s death, church was the place where I felt the closest to God. My grief was the most authentic there, the most real, the most raw. And the most uncomfortable … I was embarrassed at its intensity. It was easier to stay away than to face others, although that is when I needed others the most.
In a sense, I felt completely abandoned … not intentionally abandoned by anyone, mind you, but abandoned none the less. David’s death broke my heart. I did pray, but the only comforting scripture I could find was “Jesus wept.” His heart was broken, just like mine.
At church it was difficult to muster a fake smile to my fellow congregants. “Peace be with you” and “Good morning” were impossible when I wanted to say “I don’t feel any peace today. I am hurting.” I wanted to fall on someone’s shoulder and sob.
We did venture back, slowly, carefully, but mostly because my patient children yearned for it. We joined a new church, not because anything was wrong with the old, but because God had a different plan for us. My children jumped into the youth program, but our attendance was still sporadic.
It has been three and a half years, and I am only now feeling like I can get back to my old self. I am finding joy in serving and wanting the closeness of my church family. I look forward to worship, even though sometimes, still, the tears fall.
But it has taken time.
The lesson in all this is not a criticism of anyone, including myself. Grief is messy. We want to shy away from it, but, my fellow believers, we can’t.
Reach out to the hurting, even when it feels uncomfortable. And not just in the months following a death but in the years. We want to talk about our loved ones. I never tire of hearing David’s name, and I never tire of sharing him.
God has been faithful. He has carried me through. He has taught me a love and compassion I never knew. I know the love of Jesus in a way that I could have never known without this hurt.
Today, sharing my grief journey is in itself healing. Thanks for listening.