On June 29th, my parents, sisters and their families were in route from North Dakota and Montana to Oklahoma for a long weekend together.
As I was preparing for their visit I received this message from my aunt,“You all have a great time with your folks, sisters, & kiddos. Those times can be so special. …Will be thinking of all of you.”
On July 2nd, just three nights later my aunt’s daughter was killed in a car accident.
When my dad made his first phone call to check in with his sister, she was quick to emphasize that we were not to cut our time together short, because of her daughter’s death and that instead we should spend time with the living.
Immediately her words, her strength and her grace reminded all of us of their mother, my grandmother:
- A woman who was widowed when her first husband was killed in World War II and was left with two small children to raise and years later lost one of those children in a drowning accident.
- A woman that was both strengthened and softened by those events and instead of becoming bitter she used them as a catalyst to better understand the needs of others and offer help and hope.
As I’ve pondered the events of the past few days I’ve:
- Felt incredibly thankful for the lives and the example of both women and found myself hoping for a fraction of their strength and their grace.
- Examined my own focus and priorities… “Do I spend enough time enjoying the living?”
- Pondered what we will learn as a family, what changes we will make and hoping we won’t forget what we learn.
- Wondered how this sudden loss will eventually be used to help others.
What about you… How has a season of loss in your life served as a catalyst for change, hope and healing for you or for others?
“To everything there is a season…
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance…”