We truly have no idea how intricately someone is woven into the fabric of our being until their presence is no longer with us on a day-to-day basis. Such is the case with our sweet daughter-in-law, Anna. So much of our life here in Tennessee included her, and we find ourselves having to establish a new normal without her.
Of course, our son is most affected.
Quintin needed to close some of Anna’s accounts which also means he had to wait until the death certificate arrived. He couldn’t pick it up because of his work schedule, so I found myself walking the hall of the funeral home one month after her passing.
When I looked down at the official piece of paper, I immediately had a visceral reaction. Part of me thought, no! She isn’t dead; her spirit lives on! The other part knew this was the final declaration that her precious body is indeed buried up on a knoll at Spring Hill Memorial.
Words can’t capture the push and pull in my heart, and how those thoughts pervaded my day.
I know it’s true I won’t experience Anna’s vibrant presence in the flesh anymore (and oh how I wish I could), but I’m also very aware that she’s now a part of the great cloud of witnesses the author talks about in Hebrews 12:1.
I know some of you may not believe in eternity or the afterlife, and I understand. It seems far-fetched; something the bereaved person needs to buy into to get through the grief.
But I can’t help believe it’s true.
There’s an odd little story in the book called Matthew (27:51-53) that relates what happened the moment after Jesus died. It goes like this: “There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)” (The Message)
Can you imagine? What would it feel like to be going about your business when all of a sudden, great Aunt Martha shows up on your doorstep after being dead for 20 years? Whaaaat?
After getting over the initial shock, I think you’d have crazy hope that the after life is real. And then on top of that, Jesus also rose from the dead three days later and appeared to many–a good chance it was to some of the same people.
Apparently, God didn’t want eternity to be a secret.
He wanted us to know we could trust Him. When he said those who love Him would be with Him, He meant it. Anna loved Him.
So while the death certificate is the official piece of paper that lets the world know she is no longer here in body, it can’t declare her spirit dead. I ache deeply to hug her and kiss her forehead one more time, but I take great comfort in knowing she’s cheering me on from a vantage point that’s just a breath away. I may not see her physically, but I have no doubt she’s with me in spirit.
And she and Jesus are laughing.
To me, that’s a better thought.
Thank you again to all of you who have sent thoughts, prayers, and donations to Quintin’s youcaring site. We are profoundly grateful!