I feel like I’m living in a crystal ball and have the ability to predict the future. That’s because I’m thinking about 5 years ago at this time and know what happened next.
On this date, October 20, Nate was two weeks from his death. We all knew the situation was severe, but none of us knew the end would come so soon.
I’ve been reading last year’s blogs, and today we were signing Hospice papers, including the most emotional one, a living will. Our children demonstrated great strength that day when I was feeling weak, stepping forward to sign as witnesses beneath their father’s signature on the document. Could there be any more difficult task in the life of a child?
But surprisingly, in examining the negatives of those days 5 years ago, several striking positives have emerged:
1. First of all, new waves of appreciation for Nate have washed over us. Once someone is gone, all petty grievances disappear. It’s easy to focus on the good, and all of us are wholeheartedly thankful for Nate, without the slightest reservation.
2. The second positive has been fresh gratitude toward God, who repeatedly pulled us out of a sea of sadness and set our feet on solid ground. When everything else was stormy, the Lord kept us calm, and that included Nate. God showed his involvement daily and kept every scriptural promise. He didn’t stop the cancer, but he held us close throughout the ordeal, and does so still.
3. A third positive is becoming aware of the progress over these 5 years. Today we’re all veterans of grief. It was hard work, lasted a long time, and involved plenty of tears. But each of us has increased in our understanding of what it’s like to mourn someone we love. We’ve also learned that the process includes times of well-being and peace, side-by-side with sorrow.
4. Because of our experience in losing Nate, all of us can commiserate with others who’ve lost someone special, which is positive number four. We can say, “I know how you feel” to a hurting friend and mean it.
5. Five years ago, our days were packed with problems, losses, and emergencies. We had no time to process what was happening or think too deeply about it. The demands of each day called for putting one foot in front of the other and getting through “just barely.” Now, because life has regained routine, we have the time to ponder, an important positive.
6. And one more: we have a stronger focus on eternity. Part of the October 20th blog 5 years ago was the detailing of a new strategy: we decided that day to start talking about heaven. I wrote, “The time has come to shine a spotlight on his brightest hope.”
It’s true none of us lives in a crystal ball, but because we know the Lord, we can accurately predict that our separation from Nate is only temporary. The future sees us together again in heaven, and focusing on that is positive indeed.
”I give [my sheep] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)