Words of Hope: Death is Strange

My mom’s good friend died last week. She was in her early seventies and the epitome of health. Last March, she and mom vacationed together. They lifted weights, walked every day, ate healthy, and enjoyed each other. In less than a year, her daughter was holding the phone for her to say goodbye to my mom.  

Death is one of the strangest events on the planet. It’s shocking, upsetting, and deeply painful. I am continually surprised by death. I don’t know how people love others fully and completely without the hope of resurrection. I am listening to the history of the Vikings and their ruthless plunder of Europe. Their violence was unparalleled. When you don’t love others, death is nothing, life is nothing. The only sensation is the thrill of victory and power over others.  

When you love deeply, there is a brokenness, a desolation, a tenderness. Some say that those who experience loss of a beloved person in their life are the closest to the spiritual realm because they clearly see the fabric between the soul and the flesh. On a tour into the ancient catacombs beneath Rome, our guide said these tombs were where Christians would come to celebrate. They would take communion on top of the graves of those who had just died, singing, and dripping the communion wine down into the new grave. They believed that Christ’s return was imminent. They had great hope they would see their loved one again.  

This is the only solace in the face of loss. I will see my dad again. We will be reunited in song and joy in a place where there is no sorrow.  

I told Mom that the best gift she can give her friend is to avoid asking the question, “Why did she die and not me?” Instead live each day for the Lord until we are all reunited. 

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.’ –  John 11:25-26