Finality is sure and right now it feels heavy.
While we are obviously living a life we could not have anticipated just three and a half months ago, there have still been so many more surprises and pain lurking in unexpected places. The early days after Jane’s death were thick with the fog of heartache and devastation. I remember thinking that once the funeral was over and once our family left there would be a finality and emptiness to it all. In some ways I longed for the finality and in others I dreaded the reality that would come with it.
In some ways I longed for the finality and in others I dreaded the reality that would come with it.
Truthfully, our life was permanently altered on the evening of February 24th. That was the day Jane died and that was final. She was no longer with us and the timing of her funeral or headstone placement would not change that fact. So while it doesn’t matter when her room changes, because it doesn’t change the fact that she is gone, it is a painful reminder of the truth. There are many different events that have taken place that seem to scream in our face “Your daughter is gone!” These things always feel heavy and they always reiterate a finality to the truth that took place just 14 weeks ago.
This week I have been pathetically trying to get ready for the arrival of our baby. She will be here in less than five weeks and I have never been more unprepared to welcome a child into our home. With many thanks to dear friends who have lavished us with love, support, and many practical baby items, I am slowly trying to prepare a place in our home for Lucy. Last night I started folding baby clothes and I was reminded of just a few weeks earlier when I did the final load of Jane’s laundry. That was a heavy and final moment. Last week I packed away Jane’s clothes. It was a horrible reminder of the reality we are living. 2T, the largest size of clothes that would grace Jane’s body. After I finished folding Lucy’s baby clothes, I started to swap out diapers. Size 5 diapers sat in an unused pile next to a new package of newborn diapers. I just stared at them for a long time with tears streaming down my face. Jane was ready to be potty trained, but I put it off. The diapers wouldn’t have been used anyway. But these were just more cruel reminders. More waves of finality.
A few weeks ago, Robert and I finally received Jane’s death certificate. I read the entire report, as if expecting to find a variant of information. Instead I found the truth, the finality we were already aware of on February 24. Date of birth and date of death. It was all information I knew and none of it had changed. There is an overwhelming sense of being mocked and reminded that in fact our daughter is gone and she will not return. These are the things I didn’t expect. The little things and the big things that remind us of the hurt of loss, as if we would ever be able to ignore the absence of our daughter.
I’m sure there will come a day when there won’t be anymore “final” moments. Jane’s things will have all been put away, the headstone has been in place for weeks, the bills to pay for death will come to an end and we won’t even be experiencing our “firsts” without Jane anymore. In a way, that brings just as much sadness and grief. If, Lord willing, we reach a day when we have been without Jane longer than we ever had Jane. That will be it’s own devastating reality.
Today I called the cemetery, a conversation that has been waiting since February. When we woefully picked a burial plot for Jane, the kind man helping us said he would reserve several of the plots to her right and left, in case we wanted to purchase those in the future. I called to tell them that for the time being we would just like to purchase two additional plots, one for myself and one for Robert. It seems incredibly morbid to think about a burial plot in your thirties, but there again, Jane was only two. The man on the phone was kind. He said he had been the one to help us the day we picked the original plot. I apologized for not remembering his name and he told me not to worry about it, he understood. He then told me when and where I could pay for the two additional plots. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. Mine and Robert’s days are ordained, just as Jane’s days were ordained.
It would seem our highest priority is life preservation and comfort, when in fact we will all meet the same fate.
I’ve realized how very little we think about the reality of death in our society and in the church. Through the cloak of optimism we deceive ourselves of the reality that faces us all. Even though we are familiar with the apostle Paul’s words, “For me to live is Christ but to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) We live a vastly different way of life. It would seem our highest priority is life preservation and comfort, when in fact we will all meet the same fate. We will all have a final day. I don’t know when that day will be, but I am determined to not only live well, but to die well too. My prayer is that my mind and my heart are so absolutely fixed on things above that the life I live on this earth will not be wasted. I hope that the finality of my life will be received as the grace that it is and that I can stand before my Lord and hear “Well done.” I don’t desire an easy life, I desire a fruitful life.
I don’t desire an easy life, I desire a fruitful life.
The finality of Jane’s life on this earth happened many weeks ago, and the fact hasn’t changed. We are merely receiving painful reminders of a truth already come to pass. I am not often thankful for the sorrow, but I am grateful for the change of perspective. I know where my fate lies and I know that it was sealed by the blood of Jesus. I know that while Jane will not return to us, we will one day go to her. (2 Samuel 12:23) Do you know what your final day will hold? Do you know for certain what finality awaits you? Do you know that there is sure hope and salvation in Jesus? If not, I hope you will meet Jesus today and let Him hold securely the finality you will one day face.