With Christmas upon us, we tend to cast our minds back over the year that was, giving thanks for the good times and remembering the hardships.
This year I lost both of my parents, so my end-of-year reflections have turned towards the experience of saying your last goodbyes.
Losing a loved one is an unwelcome chapter in life. Emptiness mixes with relief, and our emotions linger as we try to make sense of something so final.
Mum and dad passed away six months apart. I still find it hard to come to terms with, but I did manage to get through the quagmire that comes with it.
Shouldering the weight of end-of-life arrangements reminds us of our own cross we carry each day. At times heavy, burdensome, and often lonely. Sharing the load is made easier if you have siblings to lean on.
Today, there are processes to help, as you grapple with the loss, but you still have a lot of work cut out for you with funeral arrangements, contacts to notify—including all the red tape you need to get through.Surprisingly, through all this, a divine strength was bestowed upon me. I have no doubt my guardian angel was walking beside me, every step.
Looking back, the whole process is akin to a tornado unsettling everything in its path. After the dust settles, after the mourners have departed, and after you’ve exchanged the memories and reminisced with loved ones and long-lost acquaintances, normality sets in.
Somehow you must carry on. One chapter ends, and a new chapter begins; the book doesn’t close.
Parents are the uniting force of the family. Where Jesus Christ is the rock upon which all else rests, the parents are the rock of the family, who are your own flesh and blood.
As in the Psalm, our parents can be our rock, fortress, delivering strength and stronghold in this life (Ps 18:2).
The abrupt absence of one-half of that foundation from this earthly life is devastating, but then sometimes the other half will leave us prematurely, and understandably so—they’ve lost their soul mate.
Your daily interactions with your parents transform from tangible moments to spiritual connections; a morning greeting becomes a prayer to start your day, and a good night blessing before bedtime.
Now, with my rock watching over me day and night, and my guardian angel whom I call upon to keep me steady and strong, I find solace in day-to-day life normality.
Despite the sadness, it has been a gift and a blessing. If you ever doubt the Good Lord has abandoned you, the passing of a loved one reminds us of the great love and mercy he has for us.
The rock that unified us now brings unity and love in an end-of-life celebration. The gathering of loved ones and long-lost acquaintances is testament to this mercy.
If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, calling upon your guardian angel can bring comfort. Sometimes the simplest prayers bring great solace.
Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. God bless you Oma and Opa.