There it is. Loss. It's such a short word for the waves of emotion that it carries. There are so many words that come to mind when I hear the word loss.
Grief...Pain...Depression...Time...Raw...Regret to name a few...
and there are so many more. What definition the word has is different for each person who is experiencing the loss. My 26 year old cousin died recently in a tragic car accident. It's interesting to me that the word tragic is always used ahead of whatever happened. Is it ever not tragic? It seems redundant to me. Redundant but necessary I suppose. Going to her viewing and funeral brought up many emotions that I was unprepared for. During her viewing I watched her parents greet friends and family trying to be strong for those around them. It brought back all too familiar memories that feel like yesterday. My husband and I buried our first born daughter more than 8 years ago. She lived for just ten short days. I remember going through the motions of hugging, talking and crying with those that care for us. We both so wanted to comfort those around us. We wanted them to feel that we were ok. Watching the pain in their eyes for us was almost harder than the pain of losing her. Comforting others, however, provided a welcome distraction from the aching pain that lied in wait to overtake every part of my being. It was one child and several months later before the full extent of the pain hit me. We were overjoyed to have a new life in our home. The joy of our second daughter's birth, however, did not fill the void of our first daughter's absence. It had the opposite result in fact. Caring for her and learning to know her made the loss of our first daughter that much greater. Before then I had not fully understood the true depth of my loss. This amazing and beautiful gift that I had been granted to raise forced me to face the pain in a way that I was unprepared for. It was the experience of losing a child and then being given a child that led us more rapidly to the road to adoption. Life here is so short.
Loss. Pain. It doesn't really matter what you have lost or how you have lost. A parent, child, friend, church, home, relationship, hopes, dreams. They all have their own depth of pain but there is one poignant thing I have taken from these experiences. Pain is pain. Simple but profound to me. Pain is pain. It overwhelms and it can be paralyzing. But it makes us who we are. We are a product of the pain in our lives. See, pain is a gift. It levels us and hopefully, if we allow, takes us to the foot of the cross. To the feet of the One who understands pain. To the feet of the One who picks us up and carries us until we are strong enough to walk again.