Grief is a weird thing.
Anyone who's gone through it knows that. Anyone who hasn't has heard that. It changes with each loss, and is different for each person and each experience. It can build on itself. It can be harder for some than for others, or for some experiences over others. My grief informs only so much of any one else's grief to tell me that I can't actually understand theirs completely, even if we're grieving the same loss.
My dear Aunt Lynn passed into the arms of Jesus early in the week of Thanksgiving. Her funeral was a couple weeks later as we began December and the celebrations of Christmas. The celebration was sweet together with the same family that said goodbye and celebrated the life of my grandfather (my aunt's father) just a few months ago in August. One thing that struck me heavily was how much of the legacy I spoke of with him was still so true for her. Difference experiences, a shifted sphere of influence, but so much of the same was true. Her love for Jesus overflowed from her (and my uncle) as they served God together and loved those around them.
I have been unable to write this post. I kept thinking of things with her, but wasn't able to articulate it with any sense of coherency. I'm not sure I'm there, but it's beyond time, and I'm ready enough to write. So here we are.
The weirdest part of my own experience is this: I have lost both my grandfathers now. One, I lost in 2011 (post: In Memoriam), the other, I lost just this past August (post: Living Legacy). I cried for each. I wasn't able to go to California in 2011 for Gramps' service. I was able to go to Illinois for Grandpa's this past summer. I cried a couple times - but only once really hard for each of them. That's been it. I still miss them, think of them, am grateful for my memories with and of them. But when they come to mind, it doesn't ever make me lose it.
I was also able to go to Aunt's service in December. You guys, there were so many flowers. She loved flowers. It was perfect. It was horrible. I wasn't ready to see her go home to Heaven. But in all that, I am thankful she is no longer suffering from the effects of the cancer that took her. She is still singing all the songs she sang to her very last days but she is singing them in the presence of the One they are for and about. I'm glad she's home, but man, I miss her. I think of my uncle often and pray for him as well. He lost his father one week to the day after he lost his wife. Most of his family is out of town, though our shared family is closer. How difficult. How unfair. And yet, we trust that God is good.
My aunt comes to mind and mostly I'm grateful, the way I am with my grandfathers. But I have cried over my loss of her more times than I can count. I'm so thankful for the way she loved, not just me, but all those God brought into her life. I hope I am a sliver of that way for others around me. You see? Her legacy, like that of my grandfathers, lives on and inspires and points the way to Jesus.
May it be so, and might my tears be used for His glory. And yet honestly, it'd be nice to stop crying at random times. I know this has been a bit of a jumble, so if you got through all of it you get a gold star. Just remember that 1) not all tears are evil, and 2) you never know what caused them. Give grace to your fellow travelers and love, too.