Life Goes On Even In The Valley Of Suck


Today has been one year since Heather left us for what Tolkien termed, "the Undying Lands." It was an image Heather knew well and loved just as much.

Everyone grieves but everyone grieves differently. While there are many lessons of the valley of suck, maybe none is more startlingly clear than this one.  You might welcome the grief as you would a friend or companion or you may choose to defer to meet it until another day but rest assured, you will grieve.

When I look back, I know I began to grieve long before Heather died.  She helped me through it.  As I have read snippets from her journals, Heather was also grieving - she grieved she would leave her children and leave me. She grieved she might be a worthy example for us about faith.

The first? Tragically, we live in a world of death.  It cannot be avoided at this time.  It is our nature to die (though there is hope).  She did leave us behind and we three have grieved and do grieve and still we remember and we live.  This is what she would have wanted.

As for the second grief?  Yeah, she was MORE THAN ENOUGH.  She was always an example of faith in Jesus Christ and the promise of a new life and resurrection.

This day marks a year since her passing.  As I reflect, I think this will be the only time I will intentionally mark this as a special day.  Others may choose a different path.  I will continue to mark our anniversary, her birthday, and Mother's Day - these are days to remember the joy she brought and the life she lived.  I don't pass judgment on those who remember her and this day differently but this is my journey through the valley of suck, and I choose to give death no place of honor.

Heather died on a Sunday and it marks resurrection...a little Easter every week.  She is already in the company of the Saints and worships and prays continuously before her Lord.  She doesn't know pain any longer nor does she know grief.  I will remember her on Sundays when death gives way to new life.

And I will live.  I will love.  I will move forward.  There will be starts and stops along the way (I have experienced many) and I suspect, there will be more grief too.  But the valley of suck is NOT a road without end.  It is a journey for a time but not a journey for all time - this Jesus promised us when He told us He was "the Way."

A year ago, Heather lived. A year ago, Heather died. A year ago, in an instant, Heather passed from death to eternal life and she will NEVER know grief again.

That doesn't suck at all.



5 comments:

Cynthia Astle said...

What a powerful testimony to life and love! I'd like to republish this on United Methodist Insight. OK with you?

Wendy said...

This has come across my FB feed this morning as I prepare to remember 3 years without my sweet daughter Sydney. She passed away suddenly at the age of 19. We choose to continue to live out God's purpose for us and to love as Syd did. She loved without condition here on earth and is reaping her reward in heaven. You're right...it's the valley of suck and we will grieve in our own way today as we do everyday. It's part of our journey. Don't know what today will bring but I know we'll make it through. Thanks for sharing.

madad ali said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ken Hagler said...

@CynthiaAstle: Absolutely, feel free to republish.

Ken Hagler said...

@Wendy I'm so glad my words were able to help. So sorry for your loss but thankful you've continued to seek God in the valley of suck.

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