"...And then they were gone"
07 Oct 2021

“…And then they were gone”

Since I began writing my blogs now over five years ago, it has always been my prayer that they would be encouragement and inspiration to those readers who choose to spend their precious time reading my writings. The title of this week’s blog may have sparked your interest, but I must forewarn you it was quite emotional for me to write. It is my desire that it will help someone.

As I grow older and navigate through the mountains and valleys, we all experience in life, I find that grief is very difficult to deal with. Life and death go hand in hand because we know that where there is a beginning there is also an end. I consider myself immensely blessed because I have not experienced a great deal of tragedy through the death of loved ones as some have. Allthough, I have had my fair share, if it can be described that way. As a pastor and counselor, it is expected that we allow God to be our strength and give us the grace to handle not only our grief but that of those who cross our paths. Extending comfort and sharing words of consolation are a part of what is expected of us because of the role in which we are called to serve. But what happens when you are found in dual circumstances where you must comfort the bereaved while you are doing everything you possibly can to manage your own grief. The truth of the matter is it is impossible to “manage” grief. It has a course all its own. Without the Spirit of God, it can be overwhelming. I have been trained, educated, and practiced all the necessary protocol to aid those who are overtaken by grief whether it is due to the transition of a spouse, a child, a parent, a dear friend, a pet, and even one who has betrayed you. With each situation and relationship there is a different and unique dynamic that must be gently approached with the utmost empathy and sensitivity. It is extremely important that grief is allowed to take its natural process. To mask it, deny it, or take on the role of the “strong man” will eventually take a toll in enormous proportions; and often when you least expect it.

Recently I experienced the loss of my beloved pet, who gave us some of our happiest family times for eleven years. Ashton Nicholas had the unique ability to win over visitors who dislike dogs. He truly was a joy and treasured member of our family. He seemed to leave us all too soon, yet in all things I trust God’s sovereign will explicitly. Three weeks later, it still hurts.

Just two days prior, a man who was dear to my heart, my husband’s, and our daughters who were his goddaughters, was called home to be with the Lord. Mr. William (Bill) Crockett, Sr. Our relationship which spanned a period that exceeded 40 years, stood the test of time, and the miles which separated us as our families moved to different parts of the country. He and his wife became our big brother and sister at a time when we needed that kind of relationship most. I never had an older brother, and I lived a great distance from my older sisters that I love so dearly. Bill was one of those “superheroes” who was larger than life, but ever so humble and down to earth. He was a football star from high school, to college, to pro football. But more importantly he was a man who adored his family and served God and His people with ever fiber of his being. With all of those “credits” to his name, he made it unmistakably clear that he loved Tim and Denise. I would be living a falsehood if I attempted to indicate that I am okay with the fact that he is no longer with us. My husband and I will miss those random phone calls that would make us laugh hilariously and then provoke us to think deeply about life and love. But as I stated previously, I have learned to bow to the sovereign will of God. When all things were ready, restored, and in order, God said,
It’s time to come home son.” I can truly say in the midst of my grief, prayers that I had laid at the feet of the Master were answered in His own time and His own way. It’s like I can hear Bill saying, “Don’t cry for me baby girl, I’m fine now. I’m where I want to be.” The task we have before us is to keep the love flowing and the bond of family secure that he treasured. He loved nothing more than to be in the midst of those he loved most. His memorial service was a sight to behold with his beautiful family and friends who gathered from near and far — hundreds of miles away. He was always up for a family reunion, and he certainly did have one all weekend long! So much love and support for each other, as we each grieved in our own special way.

It was an honor that my husband and I will treasure forever to be the eulogist and officiant for the homegoing service of our beloved big brother Bill. I urge you to treasure the life of your loved ones and those whom God has placed in your life for such a time as this. Take every opportunity to tell them and demonstrate your love; and appreciate the blessing of sharing life together.