In September 2013, I lost a dear uncle to an aggressive form of liver cancer. His condition rapidly deteriorated and within a few months, he was gone. It was hard to watch my larger than life uncle slip away before our eyes. The reality that “Uncle June” was gone was almost too much to fathom. He was the quintessential uncle, if you will. He was the life of the party. He loved to sing, dance, eat, and have fun. He was a gifted athlete and avid gardener. But, above all, he was a family man--a faithful husband to his wife and a loving, devoted father and grandfather. Uncle June was decent and honorable. So, needless to say the 2013 holiday season was difficult, especially since many holiday dinners were held at his home. The fact that he would not be joining us for the holiday meal that evening or ever again in this lifetime was overwhelming. That is the harsh reality of death, its finality.
Since we can never bring our loved one back, we are left to work through the grieving process and ultimately come to a level of acceptance. And, God in his infinite goodness, gives us the capacity to do this. If this holiday season is being met with feelings of trepidation, that is natural and to be expected. Grieving is a process. Period. There is no formula or timeline or steps to follow. Some of the stages of grief that we think we have passed, we may revisit. That is okay. Grieving is most personal and individual. However, God is with us through it no matter how long it takes or how heartbroken we are. He is Emmanuel, “God with us”.