The Upside of Grief

People all over the world die every day. But when it hits close to home death becomes different; personal, sadder, even poignant.

It happened to me this week. Two of my very close friends died within three days. One was a friend of fifty years and the other’s friendship entwined my life for sixty years.

I will miss these ladies and their enduring friendship very much to say the least. But I take comfort in the fact that they are now truly home. Yes, I do believe in life after death.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25,26

I also take comfort in knowing that my loss is God’s gain. And that’s the upside of grief.

Happy Sunday.

Called Home

Another of our church members and friend was called home to Heaven yesterday. Bill was in his one hundredth year and would have completed it in five months.

I happened to read Hebrews 9:15 this morning, For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—

It made me question who are the called and suddenly the thought of Bill came to mind. I’m sure the scripture has another meaning but I am comforted that my immediate reaction was that he was called home.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Rev. 21:4

Little Things Mean a Lot

It goes without saying that I am a hopeless romantic and always have been. Hearing about wedding anniversaries of fifty, sixty and even seventy years can turn my heart to mush. Likewise, stories of couples meeting, falling in love and marrying in their eighties and nineties makes my heart even mushier. I’ve been told that in both types of these relationships it’s the little things that matter. Here is a song from 1953 that says it all, but besides the romanticism of the song, it speaks of the need for the human touch which many of us are lacking at this time. Happy Saturday.

Condolences to Congratulations

It was my privilege once again to attend funerals for two members of my church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Scarborough. One took place on Saturday, April 22nd and the other on Monday, April 24th. The only significant difference in the lives of these two people, besides their gender, was their age. Alfred was in his 102nd year and Debra had just turned sixty.

The love, admiration, and accolades directed to these two wonderful people by their friends and families left the rest of us wishing we had known them better while at the same time conveying the feeling that we knew them well.

Debra had been an operating room nurse, well known for her caring ways, sunny smile and warm hugs. She was also known for her tenacity in dealing with health problems, and for continuing to love unconditionally in the face of all adversity.

Alfred, had been active all of his life and even at the age of one-hundred-and-one, was still doing aerobics, walking, and standing tall and straight. Our Pastor remarked that when Alfred walked down the aisle to his familiar pew, everyone else automatically straightened their posture.

As end-of-life celebrations can be, these two were so inspirational that one could not help but offer congratulations along with condolences to the loved ones left behind; congratulations for having shared in the lives of these two remarkable people.

Condolences to congratulations…it was so fitting to offer both.


100 Years and Counting!

I was delighted to hear that one of our church members recently celebrated his one hundredth birthday with not one, but two celebrations.  This delightful gentleman is of tall, straight stature and occupies a third from the front row pew every Sunday. He continues to drive, and up until a few years ago, drove “old” people to their appointments. He keeps fit by doing “the bicycle” every morning, walking every day, except for icy weather, and climbing up and down stairs during television commercials. He belongs to a community center where he enjoys shuffleboard and other activities. He is pleasant to look at, pleasant to speak with, and travels a few miles out of town every weekend to visit his daughter.

Because of being “under the weather”, I missed the church celebration of his Big Day, which I hear was a huge success with lots of food, two giant cakes, and a pile of birthday cards. I hope I’m well for his one hundred and twentieth!

So the Lord said, “My spirit won’t remain with human beings forever because they are truly mortal. Their lifespan will be one hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3 ISV)






You Be the Judge

Have you ever asked a departed loved one for a sign that they still exist somewhere?

The second love of my life died in 2007, after twenty-seven years together. We had shared a good life which included our pet Yorkshire terrier who was almost twenty years old when he went to doggie heaven.

I’m one of those cloud scanners…that is, always looking for meaningful cloud shapes, like angels for example. I’ve seen them along with elephants, ducks, pigs, whatever.

One day I silently asked Jerry to send me a cloud-shape of our beloved little Yorkie…just to satisfy my hunger for a sign.

It happened while visiting an out-of-town friend. We were enjoying a summer afternoon outdoors when I looked up and saw the distinct shape of my long deceased pet.

“Look at that cloud,” I exclaimed to my friend, “what does it look like to you?”

“Looks like a dog,” she said.

“Yes, but what kind?” I pressed, needing reassurance.

“Looks like a Yorkshire terrier,” she responded.

Need I say more? Of course I breathed a silent “thank you” and have carried that sign in my heart from that day to this. Who or what was I thanking..Jerry, God, the universe? You be the judge..

“Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” Isaiah 7:11

Tomorrow: The double rainbow.

Ninety-Nine and Counting

On Sunday I had the privelege of being a part our congregation’s congratulations to one of our members on his ninety-ninth birthday.

He sits tall in his second row pew every Sunday morning, and two weeks ago helped one of his daughters celebrate her seventienth birthday.

Does it get much better than that?

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he who will sustain you. Isaiah 46:4 NIV

Real Love

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting a couple still in love after sixty-one years of married life. They are a joy to behold.

That visit brought to mind a sentence from one of Robert Schuller’s books, Living Powerfully One Day at a Time. It reads as follows:

…the source of real joy is real love, which tears you from your own projects to care about someone else; bearing another’s burdens, sharing yourself with another person alone; truly being an instrument of God’s love.

Everything about this couple reflected God’s love, especially their love for one another which was so evident in every word and look that they shared.

I would be remiss in not mentioning another couple I know who have been married the same length of time and are truly devoted as well.

It was a blessing to have all four of these people and their real love touch my life on the same day.