I don’t remember much during my first weeks of grief. But I found this email that I sent to the friends who were right there in my home helping me after Tristan died. I sent it the day of the viewing to fortify us all:
Dear Wanda and Trisha,
God gave me something in my bible time that is very pertinent to us today and also for what you guys have already been doing. It’s from Matthew14. When John the Baptist is beheaded and John’s disciples come and take away his body (without his head) to bury it. Can you imagine? They go and tell Jesus. And even though Jesus knows he’s going to see John again in heaven, with his head, restored and whole. Jesus’s first action is to withdraw in a boat to a desolate place by himself. Because that was HIS COUSIN. He loved him! Had had to grieve.
But the crowds followed Jesus so that when He went ashore He saw a great multitude and He had compassion on them and healed their sick. ALL DAY LONG. Then it was time to eat and that’s when He served the huge multitude food. Then he told the disciples to get in the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side while He dismissed the crowds.
It always puzzled me why He didn’t just get into the boat with the disciples to get away from the crowds for some rest. Now I know why! He went up on the mountain by himself to pray, so He could even be away from the disciples. When evening came He was there ALONE. Because He hadn’t had time to grieve His poor cousin!
In the 4th watch of the night He came across the water to the boat and that’s when the story of Peter walking on the water to go meet Him happens. And when Jesus gets into the boat and they finally reach the shore, He is back at work, healing all the people of THAT region.
He says we will share in His sufferings and I think those include the sufferings of grief for those we love. And today our grieving may be interrupted by those who need the comfort with which He has comforted us. Just like Jesus’ grieving was interrupted by the work the Father had for Him to do.
I’m praying that we will be able to be in a desolate place to commune with God and also that we will be able to take the comfort we find there, and disperse it to those who need it today. Our private grieving will be interrupted by fits and spurts during this whole process. Just like Jesus’ was. But He has gone before us, and knows our affliction. We will “rely not on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead.”