On my mind, in my heart

I don’t think I’ve talked about it much here in the past few weeks, but the still-recent loss of my brother-in-law is very much on my mind and in my heart every day.

Does that ever really fade? The constant knowing…knowing he is gone, knowing we won’t see him again until we too are in heaven, knowing we must live and grow old without him in our lives. It’s a knowing that wears away at you.

First Landing State Park
Husband helped me up into this tree, but it was Michael who helped me down…he was always there like that, always willing to help.
Sure, the thought of Michael doesn’t spark tears as easily as it did a few months ago. It isn’t as much an overwhelmingly fresh wound. But it is still so very present.

Husband and I have been attending Grief Share at a local church every week. It’s hard, because even on good days focusing in on the pain and heartache makes your chest tighten and your throat swell. And on the hard days? Well, it’s just plain hard.

I struggle when I hear people say that it’s all in “God’s plan”. Because, is it really? Is death really in God’s plan? Is the brokenness of the world God’s plan? Is sin God’s plan? Because I don’t think it is.

I think God’s plan was for a perfect relationship. He created a perfect world with people whom he could talk to and walk with as companions and dear friends. Then we messed it up. We brought sin into this world. We are the ones who ushered in death and devastation. So, really? Michael’s passing is part of God’s plan? How?

Sure, He knew it would happen when we were blissfully oblivious. In fact, in some ways He even shaped those last few days of Michael’s life to help us deal with his passing. And, yes, He welcomed Michael into his arms and ushered him into the Kingdom. But I have a hard time believing it was God’s intention when He created Michael. He knew, for sure, Scripture tells us that He knows the number of our days. It also tells us that He has good works prepared for us to do even before we are born. Good works are in His plan.

But is death really in His plan?

Hosea 13:14 tells us that death is something to be overcome, to be defeated, redeemed from…

I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
Where, O grave, is your destruction?

And 1 Cor. 15:54:

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‚ÄúDeath has been swallowed up in victory.”

I wrestle with all of this almost daily. I struggle to understand–to wrap my mind around something that is so unfathomable, to grasp concepts we were never created for.

More than likely, it’s the not knowing that I will have to learn to live with. Scripture tells us that we can’t understand the ways of God, and so how could I understand something like this?

Just a few weeks ago something very small changed, and brought with it both relief and regret. For a long time, when Husband called me at work, Michael’s name showed up on the caller ID, it had to do with their joint cell phone plan. Even after the plan was switched into Husband’s name after Michael’s passing, it still showed up the same on my caller ID. But then it changed. I don’t know why. Now it just says “VA cell phone” when he calls.

A part of me wanted to stop seeing the reminder of Michael every time Husband called. But another part of me now misses that little reminder, that presence. Funny how these things happen. How trivial they are, and yet meaningful.

Last weekend my MIL and I were laughing as we told the story of when Michael was house-sitting for us and we had warned him not to let the sugar gliders out when he fed them, not without one of us around. But he did it anyway, he let them both out, and they escaped him and had a grand old time scurrying about the room and hiding in the bookshelves while he desperately tried to catch them. It was good to laugh about something, to enjoy a memory. I know those times with become more and more common, and that one little moment of story-telling gives me hope.

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