Yesterday, my sister-in-law, Lisa, said goodbye for the last time to her precious mom, Pat. She passed away after a long, courageous battle with liver disease. Surrounded by family and friends, she slipped from this place into the next with a sweet smile on her face.
The grief is still raw, but even in the sorrow of those left behind, I see that love transcends even this boundary. A physical presence isn't necessary for a deep love to be felt or returned. Nor is death to be feared. Those we love pave the way, and I believe with all my heart, they will be waiting as we enter the life beyond this. A life we can't begin to comprehend.
A grief counselor shared this story from Larry Libby's Someday Heaven, to try and explain her feelings of what heaven will be like:
Try to imagine something with me. Imagine you are a little bird who lives in a tiny cage made of rusty metal. And inside your cage you have a food dish, and a little mirror, and a tiny perch to swing on.
Then one day, some kind person takes your cage to a big, beautiful forest. The forest is splashed with sunlight. Proud, towering trees cover the hills and valleys as far as you can see. There are gushing waterfalls, and bushes drooping with purple berries, and fruit trees, and carpets of wild flowers, and a wide blue sky to fly in. And besides all these things, there are millions of other little birds, hopping from one green limb to another and eating their fill, and raising their little families, and singing their hearts out all through the day. Now, little bird, can you imagine wanting to stay in your cage? Can you imagine saying, "Oh please don't let me go. I will miss my cage, I will miss my little food dish with seeds in it. I will miss my plastic mirror and my tiny little perch. I might get bored in that big forest." I don't think so...
I love that picture of release. Life on this earth may be all we know. But faith prompts me to insist that there is so much more. And, no, I don't think we will be bored in the life to come! I can't begin to imagine what awaits those who believe, but I do know the sovereign God whose Son, Jesus Christ promised, "In my Father's House are many rooms, if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." John 14:2.
Pat's room has been prepared, the welcome mat laid out on streets of gold, and she is home at last. Grief still consumes, but peace triumphs.
Keeping Lisa, Dean, the grandchildren, and all of Pat's extended family in our hearts and prayers. May peace and comfort truly find a home in the many, many beautiful memories you hold close:
Surprising Pat for her 68th Birthday with a Big Party just a few short months ago!
Pat's Favorite Girls: Kalon, Sarah and Lisa
Mom and Dad with Pat
Pat, your loss cuts keenly, the sorrow is ours alone for we know you are finally finished with the pain and suffering, liberated in great joy. For that we are so grateful, but you will be missed always! Until we meet again...
My Love, Jane