It’s surreal. It doesn’t feel real. I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. And the journey is only just beginning. I’m heading to the United Kingdom to meet up with my brothers and sisters so we can begin the arrangements for your funeral! Just writing that phrase is hard, because you don’t typically bury the living. That means that you’re really gone. You really are dead. I feel abandoned. I feel orphaned. I don’t really know what I feel because the feelings change constantly from moment to moment. Grief hits me like the wash of a massive wave and then it gives way to a calm serenity. Then my brain goes into overdrive trying to figure out all the things that need to be done and who needs to do them. We always relied on you for that.
I’m not an expert at this since I’ve never buried a parent, so I’m not sure what expressions of emotion are appropriate. Is it okay to feel abandoned? Is it selfish to feel sorry for myself? Are my brothers and sisters hurting as much as I am? I don’t know the answers to these questions but I sure know that I’m experiencing all the emotions attendant to them. The selfish part of me wants you right here beside me, but the spiritual part of me realizes and rejoices in the fact that you are where I want to be: In the arms of our everlasting, ever-living, and ever-loving Father. Here’s something else I know: You were loved deeply. It’s good to be loved. It’s good to have friends and family that can help you keep the proper perspective. Yesterday I got a phone call from our dear friends Kola and Erejuwa, who live in England. He has lost both parents and she has lost her mum. They were such an encouragement to me. She shared a poem with me that really spoke to my heart, especially because you were a self-confessed Christ-follower.
The poem is simply and aptly titled What is Dying? And it goes like this:
A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon
And someone at my side says, “She is gone.”
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all.
She is just as large now as when I last saw her.
Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says she is gone,
There are others who are watching her coming over their horizon,
And other voices take up a glad shout: There she comes!
That is what dying is. A horizon and just the limit of our sight.
Lift us up, Oh Lord, that we may see further!
I guess for now that will have to do! I’ll have to rely on the wonderful memories I have of you from this horizon. You were my hero in a day when true heroes are few and far between. I’m reminded of the Scripture that says, “Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4: 13) That brings me tremendous comfort right now because I know the depth of that truth. I guess this will be my last letter to you, so say hi to Jesus for me and I'll see you when I get there.
Rest well mighty warrior, you’ve earned it! I look forward to seeing you on the other horizon. Always yours in love and hope.