Our grief is ours. Yours is yours. Importantly, all grief – whilst it’s characterised in us all as a very human expression of love having lost – is unique, both via the circumstances of loss and our perception of it.
I mention this as a caveat.
It is hard for me to communicate just how we feel, because life is very much both normal, yet forever changed and enhanced by the memory of our Nathanael Marcus. At our son’s funeral our seminary principal spoke on the fact that “Nathanael will not come to you, you will go to him.” And that’s simply our hope. It’s as simple and academic as that.
Still, it is hard to conjure why our journey through grief is so blessed. There are the prayers of the saints. Our faith is tested in this and found resilient within the tail of the storm. The head of the storm was, of course, the four month journey where we knew Nathanael’s life hung by a thread. Our engaging with our grief is another factor; denial has not ever been part of our strategy.
We have access to joy in our sorrow; peace in our torment; hope in our despair.
Our days have been either restful or productive. Life issues have been as heavy as normal in some ways, yet there has been ample time to spend with our 20-month-old son. The four weeks have run slowly but we have no cause for complaint. There have been many good things packed into such a time, but at God’s pace and not our own. We bear the complexity of life and capitalise on its simplicity.
We have found that, despite people’s respectful vocal consideration, life has gotten almost back to normal very quickly. This is why getting away last week and going away this week again helps. But we would not have responded to others’ needs if we were unable to.
We were intrigued to learn how we might deal with the loss of Nathanael. We are incredibly comforted that our loss is both real and surreal. Yet even in its surrealness we know God is with us everywhere we go; that all our comfort comes from him.
Somehow we have been blessed to live this season in a real way, in real time, without anything of the disabling nature of sorrow. We are incredibly grateful.
Our hope: we will go to him.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.