I gently held her hand which was no longer warm. I kissed her forehead now rigid to the touch. My tears softly dripped onto her cold cheeks.
Heaven received its newest angel
The day we lost our love
I guess they must have needed her
To watch us from above
My heart broke as I said goodbye to my cousin Kenzie, the young girl I wrote about last week who died after giving birth to her baby boy. This beautiful girl, who I once held in my arms 31 years ago to give her a name and blessing, was gone.
One of Kenzie’s daughters cried out, “I want my mommy!” Her mother and her five younger sisters wept deeply. Her husband and both of her dads felt lost as if a part of their soul had been violently ripped away.
Such is what CS Lewis wrote in his hallmark book “Grief Observed,” calling “The death of a beloved… an amputation.”
There must have been a terrible mistake
For we know this can’t be so
There is no way she would leave us now
She would have to see them babies grow
It hurt. Parents are not supposed to say goodbye to their kids. I felt empty. I put my arm around her father, squeezing him tight in a show of comfort yet really receiving strength from him.
God must have needed a special soul
To work some divine plan above
How could he let us hurt like this
Unless we can heal by her love
I ached, trying to feel what it must be like to have a child taken. I thought of three other Patterson cousins who have each lost a child, one just a few weeks ago.
The solid lid on the casket closed tight.
We suffer with this hole in our hearts
This ache that just won’t end
Oh how we miss that smile and laugh
We don’t know how we’ll ever mend
My heart broke even more. My wife held my shuddering body as we followed the casket on that lonely walk to the chapel.
I had been asked to read this poem Kenzie’s father-in-law had written for her, a few lines and stanzas of which I have shared. I needed to get my emotions under control.
“Breathe deep,” Elisa softly encouraged me.
I stood at the pulpit when it was my assigned turn to read the words another had written, my quivering voice struggling to adequately share his deep love for a new daughter who saved his son.
She found her soulmate in Cassidy
With all her heart she loved him so
Together they completed each other
Together their love did grow
The journey of grief is hard. We each walk this journey in our own time and in our own way. Though 0ur own trail of tears is filled with deep hardship, it is also beautifully jumbled together with a myriad of sweet blessings. Some of those blessings encourage us to become better.
We will strive to be more like her
Be reminded of her each day
We hold each other a little tighter now
In our memories she will always stay
This journey of healing from loss requires much strength. Some of that strength will come from the graceful love of our fellow sojourners, those who have also walked the experiential journey. They will help lift you just as we who gather around Kenzie’s family, especially her children, will help lift them.
We vow to watch her little ones
To help them grow up strong
We will always be there for them all
Support them their life long
This journey — as many of us may feel right now — can be filled with doubt, anger, pain, and unanswered questions filling our minds with confusion and clouding our troubled hearts.
Our pain may be so deep we may even doubt that which we already know to be true and reject that which we know will bring comfort.
That is alright.
To doubt is part of the journey of grief, as is to hurt and feel anger. It is alright to let them have their moment in your mental and emotional spotlight.
Then return to hope.
Hope is the gift that literally keeps on giving. When all else is lost, when answers fail to erase your doubt, when the Balm of Gilead seems beyond reach, hope will sustain you.
When we return to hope we find peace.
The final lines of this beautiful poem I had the honor to read point the way to hope.
We know she’s in a place divine
Bathing in eternal love
Surrounded by heaven’s angels
Sharing our lives from above
We know we’ll all be together again
We know she’s preparing the way
Our questions will all be answered then
We know that will be a wonderful day
When we return to hope we find peace, which graceful peace is the beautiful gift of pure love from He who is called the Prince of Peace.
Have a great Monday. Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to focus on returning to hope.
Discover how you can better use the persuasive power of your story to better influence yourself and those you care about by scheduling a complimentary “Gain the Red Edge” mentoring call.