“Have started hospice for Malorie,” a text from her husband flashed across my screen as I clicked on the new message tab. It was February 27, 2016 at 9:49 a.m. I was in my bedroom and I stayed in there for a long time, in disbelief. I was afraid to respond to the text and denial quickly set in. Thankfully, my sweet husband took the liberty of booking a flight so I could spend time with her the next weekend.
Malorie was my dearest and closest friend for almost twenty years. In a recent letter to her I wrote, “I am the mom (woman) I am largely due to your love, prayers and support. When I met you I was a mess, but you loved me, befriended me and taught me and never treated me like the mess I was.” She was the single, most influential person in my life. How do you say good-bye? Well, I still do not know, but I am learning.
When I arrived at the hospice facility on Friday and Malorie heard I was there her eyes popped open and she looked around for me until her beautiful eyes settled on my familiar face. I will never forget that.
Sunday morning I got time alone with her and I used that time to remind her of all she had taught me, to use her very words to bring comfort. I reminded her of all she taught me about our Father and how it had changed my life. It was a precious time. She was reciting scripture, finishing my sentences and still believing in her good, good Father. Grief did not set in because her faith was still contagious.
A month and a half after that text came my children and I sat in a church for Malorie’s memorial service. I had to be there, they had to be there, to hear about this woman who had affected my life and in turn affected theirs, forever! Everyone said the same things:
- You did not meet Malorie you “encountered” her
- We had lively discussions about scripture
- She treated others the way she wanted to be treated
- She made you feel like her best friend
- She was a pioneer
- We got lost while driving to (fill in the blank)
We flew home on Mother’s Day, which was usually a day I talked with Malorie and she always honored me as a mom although a mom much longer herself. We did not talk this Mother’s Day. Monday the grief set in. I would not see or speak to my friend again in this life.
I was given a book Recovering from the Losses of Life by H. Norman Wright and as I began to read a lifetime of grief stored up in me began to surface. Losing my friend was going to be a catalyst for a journey I needed to take. The Lord nudging and encouraging me to embark on this journey of grieving. The journey of releasing all to Him to receive all He has for me. The journey of believing in my good, good Father just as Malorie had modeled. Believing that although sorrow may last for a night, joy comes in the morning. Believing that grieving is good and necessary for growth. Believing that through grief, although sad and painful I will more fully see and experience the good. Believing that the seeds Malorie planted are being watered by the Father to bear good fruit.
What losses are you grieving or denying? Ask your Father to show you areas where you need to grieve and areas where you have grieved and can now receive the blessing and joy from the completed process. Invite Him into your grief, for He alone can bring the peace that surpasses understanding.
Father, your Son taught us that, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We thank you for the comfort and assurance. You are our God and Father of mercies who comforts us in our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any afflictions, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. Thank you for your promise that sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Amen.
Join me here for Good Grief–Part 2 on June 9, 2016