Last month my family experienced a horrible tragedy. The dreadful event was the cruel and unwarranted murder of my 23-year-old cousin who was shot down while in his home in the presence of his mother. In an instant this young man’s life was senselessly taken from him and in that moment the life of everyone he loved and those that loved (and still love) him was changed. His mother, his father(s), his siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and etc… In the blink of an eye the season in their lives changed.
This incident caused me to take a look at life in a different way. I thought back to September 22, 2010 when the season changed for my husband and me. The day our twin girls were stillborn. That day changed us forever. After that moment in our lives we individually changed as well as our relationship with each other. Even though their deaths occurred five years ago every year when fall begins the autumn air takes me back to that devastating day. The season that my husband and I had once lived in, permanently ended that day.
As I scroll through my social media and watch the news I see many who have been affected by the lost of a loved one. No race or ethnicity is exempt from the pain that comes along with such a devastating moment. Whether it is a parent, a child, a sibling, a grandparent, an uncle or aunt, cousin, niece, nephew or a close friend, the loss is still substantial. The opportunity to laugh, play, talk, enjoy, disagree and to simply make new memories with that person is no longer there. The visits and the phone calls will now be nonexistent. The seasons have changed and those left behind are left with the daunting task of learning how to survive and thrive in the new season.
Many things happen when the season changes. In some cases relationships are restored because the arguments that previously seemed important are now meaningless. When seasons change sometimes people decide to take those risks that they normally would not have taken because they realize that life is shorter than they once thought. When seasons change some people learn how to love a little more, give a little more and live a little more. When seasons change some people learn that forgiveness is extremely important and should not be delayed. When seasons change some people realize that in many situations the good really does outweigh the bad. When seasons change sometimes people learn to cherish the good times because when they are gone they are truly gone.
The will and desire to move on in the new season is hard, extremely hard, however, it can be done. God has promised to be our comforter when we are of a broken heart. There will always be those days where we wish that we could bring our loved ones back even if for a short time. We will always have those moments of longing, remembering how it used to be and thinking about how it could have been. I often think back to the days growing up when I would spend time with my aunts and uncles that have departed this earth. I can still hear their voices, remember their laughs and certain smells bring back childhood memories. I sometimes look at our three children and imagine how it would be if all five were here. I imagine what it would have been like had the seasons not changed.
If you are in a new season in your life due to the loss of a loved one know that it is okay to cry, it is okay to grieve and it is okay to find your own way. It is also okay to wonder “why” although sometimes we have to accept that we may never completely know. It is okay to be patient with yourself as you learn how to survive in this new season. It is also okay to know that even though your life has forever changed that you can still choose to live. You can smile again, you can laugh again, you can hope again and you can move forward in this change of season. In most cases your loved ones would probably want you to.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18