It's been a hard time for me, personally. My grandpa (Stenersen) had a stroke and has been struggling physically and mentally, and I have been having a hard time coping with death.
When you watch loved ones through the years leave this world behind, it leaves a scar on your heart, and I secretly struggle with separation issues.
It's been really rough lately, and sometimes I'd look at my mom, or my dad, at any of my siblings, and fear would overwhelm me when I realized that one day, they're going to die.
The thought of being left alone on this Earth without them terrified me.
What will I do when my mom leaves me? My dad?
How will I live without them?
My grandma passed away, and that left a hole no one can fill. I couldn't imagine going on without my parents.
I went to church yesterday, it being Sunday and heard a beautiful sermon, of which I can remember very little, I am ashamed to say.
I just know that I felt rebuked, comforted and reminded all at the same time, and my heart was warmed by God's word.
But during that sermon, for reasons I cannot recall, grief for my Grandma came flooding through me, so strongly I felt the need to weep.
I honestly can't say what triggered it; I only know that I sat there in the church pew wishing I could see her once more.
I kept telling myself she had to die, she was meant to go, and not question God's ways, but something in me suddenly cried "But I had her for such a little time."
I realized that I was mourning more than her...I was mourning the chance to really, truly remember her. I was only nine when she passed away; some memories are so foggy. Longing would well up in me whenever my mom spoke about something her mom had said. I wanted to know her. And it wasn't fair that I never really had the chance.
Tears welled up in my eyes, but I forced them down and tried to focus on the sermon.
After a while the feeling went away and I was able to go on through day without giving it a second thought.
Then last night I had a dream.
I can't remember it all; it's a little hazy. But I know that my Grandma was there, smiling at me. There were gold pillars all around, and greenery, and we were sitting by a quiet little stream. She took my hand and placed something in my palm; I wish I could remember what it was. A gold chain?
Then she touched my cheek and said something like: "I had to go. You don't need me anymore."
Normally everything in me would protest, and scream "No, I need you. My mom needs you!"
But I didn't. Tears rolled down my cheeks as she held my hand, and for the first in my life I believed her words. We didn't need her anymore.
Then I was standing on a porch that looked out into nothing but a cloudy sky, crying with my mom and telling her about my dream.
Suddenly the clouds started rolling back in wispy balls, the most beautiful singing I'd ever heard roared through the skies, and someone said in quiet awe, "Jesus is coming."
My quiet timid self seemed to vanish as unspeakable joy welled up from my heart, and I threw my hands into the air, crying, "Jesus is coming!"
I gazed at the sky in joyful anticipation, but there was nothing there but vast, unmeasurable sky.
I turned around then, and saw a large group of people, all members of my large family, smiling and singing. I remember my aunt Mary was there, giggling and clapping her hands, and my Grandpa Stenersen was standing there, not singing, but smiling.
Then I awoke.
What did it all mean? I kept asking myself throughout the day, pondering the puzzling dream, until I came to the conclusion.
Grandma had to go, I know that now, although I guess I will never truly understand why. Not in this life. But it was okay.
"I've let go the need to know why. I'll take what answers You supply. You know better than I."
And He was giving me a small glimpse of the glory waiting for us all on the Other Side. The joy I had then was like nothing is ever had before, nor will ever have until that great day.
And we were all together.
Death doesn't separate us; we will all be together when we cross that Great Divide, surrounded by God's everlasting love. And that's all that matters.
It seemed as if God was gathering me in His arms and reminding me that His love is stronger than death.
And it's gonna be okay.
So I guess I felt the need to share this small revelation. Death isn't something to be feared.
God's got us in His mighty hand, and He is never going to let us go. And our loved ones are going to be just fine. He's got them, too.
Rest with that tonight.