Easter is here and so many memories flood back to me of events from the many years. From my own youth to the many years with Brittany, who was afraid of the Easter bunny but loved her Easter baskets and getting all dressed up for church. She was also afraid of clowns and I never really knew why. I have so many great memories of Brittany and I’m grateful beyond measure for that. But it is her death that leads to me write today and why Easter has so much more meaning to me than it might to others.
With Jesus’ death and resurrection, I have hope that I will be reunited with Brittany again. That hope my friends kept me alive for the weeks and months after Brittany’s death. It meant that death is not the end but rather the beginning of our new body with no more pain or anguish. No more sickness. That brought me so much comfort especially in those early days and months after her death. And even still today.
One spring a year or two after her passing, I attended a Good Friday service in my hometown where we got to visit re-enactments of the events that led to Jesus’ death. It was profoundly impactful to me because I felt the loss as my loss was still fresh in my soul. The last room before the foot washing was the cross lain across a stage and as I approached the cross, it was as the air left my lungs and I couldn’t catch a breath. I dropped to my knees changed by this depiction of Jesus’ death. As I attended that Easter service that Sunday after Good Friday, spent from experiencing that re-enactment and the message of Jesus’ resurrection filled me with such hope that I walked out a changed person. I’ll never forget that.
While a nurse in a Labor & Delivery unit one Easter Sunday, I had the privilege of caring for a patient that I had been “primary” for, meaning she was my patient for her entire admission when I was scheduled to work. We got to know each other so well over the weeks while she was admitted. That Easter Sunday, she went into labor and delivered her premature son who passed within a few hours. I have never forgotten her or that day on Easter. We sat and talked a lot during the day as she was my only patient. We talked about how we felt God had brought us together for a reason, neither of us knew until later that day why and to this day we remain friends. I still have the letter she wrote to me afterwards. I’ll treasure it for the rest of my life.
Death comes to us for what reason we do not know. The hope we have in Jesus is all we have; us grieving parents, to take a step, a breath, and keep moving forward in faith. Yesterday I attended a Celebration of Life for a family who lost their 15 year old son Josh. With the current pandemic, the service was online. As I sat on my couch watching what a beautiful soul Josh was, the pressure in my chest began to swell and tears rolled down my face. The moment came in the service when his parents and sister came on to speak to those of us watching and with tears falling from his dad’s face I couldn’t hold back my own. My heart broken for them. The loss is so unimaginable. I know the journey they are about to embark on and it’s one that you must claw and fight your way through each and every minute of the days as they pass. I know they have a strong faith and surrounded by many that will love on them.
I had many bible verses that I carried with me in the days and months after Brittany’s death. One specific verse I carried in my scrub pocket everyday for months. The verse was inscribed on a small, smooth rock and when the moments came, and they came often, in the beginning, I’d grasp it tightly in my pocket and recite the verse to myself until the moment passed. Sometimes those moments came while I was caring for a patient or in a store shopping. That is the thing about grief, it comes in unpredictable waves and times. I was armed with many verses, but this one I want to dedicate to Josh’s parents and his sister:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18.
Until next time,