FRESH LESSONS ABOUT GRIEF
This past Christmas, when our entire family was together, our youngest daughter, Heidi, and her husband, Shawn, surprised us all with the exciting news that they were pregnant. We all cheered, hugged and gave thanks to God. This was their first. Week after week, Heidi would give us updates. Then came the 3-D ultrasound video – wow! The detail was amazing! Shawn and Heidi waited until almost 4 months to reveal that they were having a little girl. Week after week, their little “Bella” kept growing. All vital signs were strong and healthy. Shawn and Heidi kept comparing Bella to fruit sizes as she grew: “Little Lemon Bella” – “Little Avocado Bella” – “Little Pomegranate Bella” etc.
Heidi was radiant in her weekly selfies as her tummy got bigger and bigger. As she moved into her second trimester, we were in Latin America visiting missionaries. Whenever someone asked us about grandkids, we typically responded, “Well we have four…no…hold it, we have five!” Then we would share about little Bella. Her name became part of our family vocabulary.
Everything changed on the afternoon of March 15. I was buying a lawnmower at Farm and Fleet, when I got “the call”. It was my oldest daughter, Stacy, clearly distraught, “Dad, Bella died”. The words hit like a sledgehammer. Everything went into slow motion. I knew Becky was exercising and didn’t have her phone. So I drove home and made the dreaded descent into our basement to tell her that our little granddaughter had died. She wept in my arms – we both wept. The next week was a blur. We prayed, we pleaded with God, but in the end, He said “no”. I had forgotten how brutal and exhausting grief can be.
So many reached out to our family. It helped a lot. So many of you have gone through far more intense grief, than we have, over the death of a spouse, child or sibling or parent. Grief is part of life. But it hurts. It sucks the life right out of you. And, you can’t get away from it. It clings to you like sticky-glue. I’d forgotten that weeping drains the energy right out of your body. Yet, it is healing at the same time. Like King David in 2 Samuel 12, when he lost his baby, we choose to trust God and bow at the altar of His goodness. We choose to fight for joy. We choose to trust in God’s ways that are not our ways. We choose to cling to Him, and say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”