I haven’t written for a while because I have been knocked by a family tragedy. My 28-year-old nephew died nearly two weeks ago after battling cancer for 2 years. I am devastated for my sister and family and shocked at his death.
The last couple of weeks I have thought a lot about Jack’s death. I cried out to God both before he died and after. The senselessness of it leaves me empty and sad. It seems unreal, unbelievable and yet I know it is all too real, too painful and desperately sad.
My mind reels at what it must be like to have your son ripped from you. The emptiness and pain. How do you cope with something like this? I have experienced loss and pain in my life; but nothing on this scale. It gives me the merest glimpse at the suffering. I know for me one thing that always seemed so strange was the way the world carried on around me as normal when my life had been ripped apart. I felt like shouting at the passing laughing crowds, ‘don’t you know what pain I am in?’
In the movie ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral,’ one of the characters reads from a poem by WH Auden, where he expresses that feeling of the futility of life after the death of a loved one. Anyone who has suffered loss will understand that feeling.
We think of grief as a word or a feeling; but it is so much more powerful than that. Grief is the way we summarise the complete transformation that lives undergo after the death of someone close. Grief expresses, pain, sadness, that physical blow to the stomach we feel, that great yawning gap in our very centre, the tears that won’t end, the darkness, the nights of loneliness, the disbelief, the anger, that feeling all is now pointless. Grief is a word that tries to capture so much, yet misses so much. How can we really express what it feels like to lose a son? How do we use a word to express the loss of a loved one.
I know that there is a God and he loves us. But that doesn’t stop me crying out to him a loud and painful, ‘why?’ I know that there is life beyond this one. But that doesn’t take away the pain of loss in this life. I don’t understand why, I don’t have all the answers. But I still turn to God because he does have the answers. He is big enough to take me shouting at him. He understands our pain. There is hope and a future however much we are hurting now. It is in that I rely and put my trust. In the depth of my despair I cry out to God.