By Miriam Rossow
Sunday, July 17th was the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s death. I had been with my family for the two weeks previous to this anniversary and we had talked and remembered. We had walked through the memories, laughs, and pain again together. I knew it was coming.
But on Sunday, on the anniversary, we were not together anymore. My sister was travelling back to her home and my mom was at her house, the house my dad and her had remodeled and enjoyed together. I was with my family at church and then the lake. We were all separate and doing our own thing. It was a pretty normal day.
It seems strange and I felt horrible that I didn’t remember that day. That I wasn’t upset or sad all day. I felt guilty. And as I type this that seems like a strange thing as well, to feel guilt over not being sad.
I know my dad would not want me to be moping around for him. He would not want me to dwell in the grief and sadness. He would not want to be the center of attention or make a big deal because of him. He was a humble man with a servant heart that could handle attention but did not need to be the center of attention. He would not want my day to be focused on the grief.
And Jesus does not want me to be focused and stuck in grief. Jesus hates death. Jesus came to overcome death. Death was not part of the plan. Jesus has promised to come again and conquer death finally.
Crying is good. It is not bad to feel sad and empty when death has touched your life. In fact Jesus wept when death touched His life and the lives of His friends. Remembering the person is good. Remembering the life they had, the legacy they left, and the joy they shared is right and helpful as we grieve.
But don’t stay in that place. Remember the promises of Jesus to that person in their baptism. We have been buried with Christ and made alive again in Him. This matters. It matters that my dad was buried with Christ in his baptism. That means he will be raised with Christ also. That means that he doesn’t have to stay in this dead state forever. He will be raised. He will be changed.
It matters that my dad was buried with Christ in his baptism.
Monday was the day that the grief hit me more. I felt the pain of his absence. I reread a post I had written about walking in faith. I listened again to the The Trumpet Shall Sound from the Messiah. I noticed that my FB feed pulled a video of my son playing the trumpet, the instrument my dad played, at my dad’s house a year before he died. These memories were sad. They allowed me again to mourn and grieve. They allowed me to cry for the life that was taken to soon.
They also reminded me that this is not the end of the story. They reminded me that Jesus has victory over death and when He returns we too will be victorious over death because we have been buried with Him in our baptism and will be raised to new life with Him as well. It matters who you are buried with!
My dad was buried with Jesus and so I have a sure confidence and hope that he will be raised with Jesus on the last day when the trumpet sounds!
It is OK for me to remember and grieve. And it is good for me to live in the joy and hope of the resurrection. I don’t have to feel guilty over not being sad all day because there is joy in Jesus and being buried with Him!
I don’t have to feel guilty over not being sad all day because there is joy in Jesus and being buried with Him!
Death is all around us. We are not afraid. Written is the story. Empty is the grave! These words from This Dust by Kip Fox were sung at my dad’s funeral and then again on the 2 year anniversary of his death. These words express how I can live in joy even as I grieve.