Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Immersed in Grief
Pain. We all experience it. Whether it’s physical or emotional, pain is a shared part of life for every human being.
And so is grief. Many in our liver kid community have experienced the unimaginable grief of losing a child. My heart aches for each and every parent who’s been forced to live that nightmare. Saying goodbye to a child. It should never happen.
Yet even in the midst of that grief so many people reach out with hope. They extend hope to others by how they respond to such tragic circumstances. It’s here we see the vital importance of human relationships, of sharing our pain, our grief and our hope.
Two weeks ago this morning, we lost a precious member of our family, our dear friend, Cari. She wasn’t a relative by blood but she may as well have been. Cari and my wife shared a deep friendship that goes back 20+ years. Cari’s presence at our children’s birthday parties or at special events earned her the coveted spot of favorite Auntie. She was there throughout Sarah’s trials, her liver transplant and beyond.
Cari died at the much-too-young age of 38, a little over a month before her 39th birthday. That alone seems unfair. But as everyone realizes, this world isn’t fair, nor can any of us foresee the time God will call us home from this world.
I had the great honor of being a pallbearer for Cari’s burial last Friday. Holding that casket was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I knew well that Cari’s spirit had long left that shell that was once her body; the body wracked with cancer & pneumonia and filled with weariness from the battle.
Still, to set that casket down seemed to have finality to it. Perhaps that was the moment I truly realized Cari was gone and would no longer call Patty to go see a movie or sit, playing games with our children.
My grief, already great, tugged further at my heart, my mind. Why? The question everyone searches to answer in times like these but for which there is rarely a satisfactory one.
And it wasn’t only my grief for Cari’s loss but the grief I held, too tightly perhaps, for my children who’ll never have the chance to hear Cari’s voice, or feel her love while she watches them during a date night for my wife and I. For them, there certainly IS grief but not to the extent I expected. Maybe kids really are just more resilient than adults. Or maybe they don’t yet realize the depth of that loss.
In the next post, I’ll tackle my emotions moving forward and the hope found in Cari’s faith in God and her Celebration of Life.
NOTE: I haven’t yet found the right words to adequately write a tribute to Cari but I hope to do so very soon.