For the month of September, any donations made to our GoFundMe will be matched up to $5000. These matching donations will be made in honor and memory of my cousin Kira who passed away in May 2013. This blog post was written two months after she left us. Although four years have passed since Kira left us, we still very much grieve the loss of her presence in our lives.
Tomorrow is my cousins' birthday. (Aren't they cute?!? I think they were 3 at this time.)
Kira and Christian were born the day after my birthday. When I was younger, I thought of them as a belated birthday present. Kira is my cousin whom Alex and I had flown out to visit in March.
This past May, Kira passed away.
It was probably the most beautiful funeral I have been to. It was also the most true to the person who passed. There were so many people who were there. Kira knew and impacted many. She was pretty hard to miss!
When we had family get togethers, Kira lived to please her cousins. She wanted one of us with her to color, write a letter, or just talk with her. And for a kid under the age of 10, she was a very good conversation holder. She didn't just talk about herself, she wanted to know about you.
(This was at our wedding, two years ago.)
Lately, the idea of grief has been becoming a more frequent thought for me. Kira's death is still recent. Family events will not be the same without her. August also marks a year since our miscarriage. We're still saddened by the loss of a child whom we will never know.
Grief is here. And it's real. Everyone knows that we deal with it, but no one wants to acknowledge it.
2 Samuel 1 teaches us how to grieve. It is a slightly odd passage from which to take this lesson. David, who has been anointed as the next king of Israel, finds out that Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle. David goes through a a grieving process by song.
One thing David did was name grief, or what caused him such sadness. It's one thing to say "I'm sad because Kira passed away." My cousin passing is a very sad thing, but that's not what causes grief. Grief is that I'm sad because I won't hear her very loud high pitched voice yell "Jackie? Do you want to color?" or see her keep a strong bear hug on our family's dog long after the dog was ok with the hug. I won't get any more coloring pictures or letters, or have her ask about our pets. Those are the things that gave her joy and that's why I'm sad. David didn't just say that he was sad Saul and Jonathan were dead. He said why he is sad, what would be missing now that they were gone.
One other way David dealt with grief was to tell God his exact emotions. What is he feeling and why? As Alex and I went through our miscarriage, there was a whole smorgasbord of emotions that we went through, and sometimes still experience. I had to learn that it wasn't healthy, not just physically and emotionally but also spiritually, to keep what I was going through to myself or share it with a select few people. Obviously God knows what I'm feeling and why better than I do. But for us to communicate with God what we are experiencing and feeling demonstrates that we can't handle this grief on our own and that we are putting our trust in Him.
The most important thing I learned is that as children of Christ, we do not grieve like those in desperation and with no hope.
I think that's amazing- we grieve with hope.
That should completely change the way we think about grief. It's an easy thing to say and talk about, another thing to actually live out. When grief comes, which it will, grieve with hope because that's what Christ gave us:
Want to know what grieving with hope looks like? Stay tuned for the next blog post.