They say that grief is the price for love. I agree with this statement but I would like to add that the price is not equal to it’s worth. The value of love continues to compound for eternity and more specifically, after the person we miss is gone.
Today marks the sixth year anniversary of my brother’s death. My husband let me sleep in this morning and when I woke up I saw that he had laid my brother’s socks at the end of my bed. As I pulled each of them on up to my knees, it comforted me. I imagined how he used to pull them on too. I can still see the shape of his feet in my mind. His wide, flat, sturdy, handsome feet. Wearing these socks tricked my heart into thinking I am physically closer to him-but my mind knows better. One would think there is no hope on this earth if we cannot have a physical connection to those we’ve lost but I am here to tell you that is simply not true. There is something that keeps us connected that is even closer to us than the socks on our feet.
Grief is a great teacher. One of the most profound lessons it has gifted me is the knowledge of the power, the depth, and the width of love. It has taught me that love is the one thing we have that transcends death. This love is a direct connection that death isn’t able to steal from us. This love is not just a feeling. It is active, living, moving, and it connected between us like an invisible umbilical cord.
Love has no knowledge of the boundaries between the Earth’s horizon and Heaven’s open road. It travels wherever it pleases at speeds that no scientist can record, and it contains the keys to all of the deadbolts in between. Love has an open invitation to the table where we gather together and feast on the memories from before. It is always in pursuit, it holds no prejudice between the open armed and the high-walled heart. It is always gentle with supernatural healing as its North star.
The Bible says, God is love and we are made in his image. I believe that and I believe we are made of flesh, bone, water, and love.
You see, because we are made up of flesh, bone, water and love our bodies will not let us forget the pain, even if our brain wants it to. So today my body is reminding me without my brain’s permission. Today, I was thinking if he was alive, I would make him a room in our home because then he would be close. I would make him homemade ice cream pie every night. I would savor every giggle, I would be his ladder to help him reach his dreams. I would study his face and memorize every expression. I imagine he would come upstairs and sit at my island, we would talk about how he’s falling in love. I would stand at his wedding and tell him everything I wish I could say to him now. I would be sitting in the waiting room when he entered with his first born son. I would help him and his wife swaddle their baby boy and I would reassure them they are doing an amazing job. We would sit around our fire pit while our kids played with sticks. We would throw our heads back and laugh under the stars. These things are memories that I make up in my mind and oh how I wish they could come true. The reality that it never will can feel overwhelming and like I am sinking beneath the waves of grief but that is when I remind myself that I have a place of refuge.
Death resides inside the walls of the embassy of Love. Sometimes when the grief is too much to bare, I pack my bag, I step out my front door, and I run with hair flying wild behind me, tears evaporating in footprints beneath me. After the doors of the embassy shut behind me, I announce just like the movies, “I am a citizen of the Earth but I need access to the great love that connects me to the other side” Then the grief which is contained inside the four walls there, it throws me around in its untamed waves. I just lay on my back and let it do what it may. Amidst the chaos, I feel peace because I know I am safe. Soon, it slows and subsides and there I float in the silence and I know I will be ok.
So, all the flesh, bones, and water will return to the soil in which it came from but because we are made in God’s image and God is love, love cannot be returned. And even though I dearly wish I had more to hang on to than his socks, I will take comfort that no one can ever steal our love.
Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)