Monday, May 10, 2010

'it's too much'

As we walked through the doors, I immediately felt the chill go up my spine. I took a deep breath to fortify myself and stepped further into the building. I could feel the sorrow hanging in the air. The room seemed to be filled with whispers of grief. Heavy with sadness. Tinged with disbelief and shock.

Glancing sideways at my husband, I can see that he has spotted him. The man we are looking for. The husband who is grieving for his wife. The daddy, who just 29 months ago stood in this same room grieving the loss of his 20 year old son. A man who just lost his wife in a single-car accident and a man who lost his child in a freak work accident. A man who witnessed that accident that took the life of his son.

I see the empty stare on his face and the red eyes filled with tears. And I can feel the lump in my throat expand and the tears welling up in my own eyes. I walk very closely to my husbands side, gaining strength from his touch. "It's too much", I whisper.

We approach him and he bravely tries to smile. We spend some time talking with him. The pain he is experiencing is evident. He is far away in his thoughts. He is simply going through the motions. He is in survival mode. We join hands with him and we pray.

This is the part of my husbands vocation that I immensely dislike. I do not like funeral homes. I do not like funerals. I don't like seeing people so broken and hurting. I don't like death.

As I go into the other room, I see the casket. This always takes my breath away for just a minute. It takes me back to my daddy's funeral. Back to a place where I don't want to go. Back to a memory that is too painful to resurrect.

This casket is holding a 43 year old wife. A mom. A daughter. A sister.  I see a card propped open on the end of the casket and I immediately know what it is. But I am drawn to it. I step over and see the signatures of her 2 living sons under the words "Happy Mother's day".  That just does me in. I feel the tears and there is no holding them back. I am just standing there thinking... "it's mother's day". She should be with her family today. Enjoying her boys. Not lying in a casket.

"It's just too much", I utter again to no one in particular. I begin searching for my husband. I am ready to go.

The ride home is spent mostly in silence. There is just nothing to say. There are just no words.  As we are lost in the quiet of our thoughts, I finally look up and voice a question that has been in my mind many times before.

"How do you do it? How do you do 30 funerals a year and not get affected by it?", I quietly questioned.

My husband looks at me and says, "God. The grace of God"

We enter back into our respective silences. I begin to pray. For my husband. For the grieving spouse. For the stunned children. For the family members. Death is no respector of persons. We don't know the time or place. We don't know the details. But we do know that it is appointed man once to die.

The one thing we can know? Our eternal destiny. We can have the assurance of an eternity with Christ by the salvation we receive through Jesus. He sacrificed His life and bore the burden of our sins, so that we could have forgiveness through accepting Him as our Lord and Savior.

I am so thankful, that when Jesus was on the Cross, He didn't think 'it was too much'. I am thankful that He loved us so much He was willing to die for us, so we wouldn't have to.

Oh, Father, minister to the family as they are mourning the loss of  their precious loved one. Grant them peace and comfort. Help them to find rest in your arms. Draw them closer to you, Lord. Thank you for the promise of eternal life.

"For I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow." (Jeremiah 31:13)

In Him,Beth


Lynda Young said...

Such a multitude of painful experiences..and such an amazing faith. Wow.

Stacey Dawn said...

Praying for God's peace and comfort for that family.

sara said...

having a husband as a pastor, I understand what you are saying. But I am so thankful that he has gifted my husband in such a way to be a comfort to those ministers to.

and I am even more thankful for the hope we have in Christ and yes, that He didn't say it was too much!!

praying for this family today.

Andrea said...

I praise GOD for HIS grace, but sometimes it seems more than we or others can bear....yet, we know...HE will supply all our needs, including comfort and peace!

Sandra said...

I hate viewings and funerals myself. I have already planned my funeral out. There will be no viewing and a simple service in the church and no grave side. I want it to be short and sweet for everyone. Those who have to do these services are very strong indeed. I too hate seeing people broken. I guess the worst part is knowing that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to help them.

Barbara said...

Very sad times, yes my husband has preached many funneral, some very young, one that sticks in my mind is that of a 22 year old young man, he was wild, and a drug user, we had given him the gospel many times, and he kept rejecting it, it was a very powerful, and heartbreaking service.
Praying for all those who have to do this, and for the lord to give great comfort to the families.
Hugs Barbara


Oh Beth ---- and how I commend you for going WITH your husband to share in that grieving place that he must go. You were by his side in that moment. You were the help-meet that God desires. You stand by him in his ministry as well as partake in your own. I know this post was about them - that family and their grief and your husband's role in funerals but I hope others will notice another view from looking in to the room you described.

A pastor enters with his wife by his side. Together they bear the burden with this family!

May God bless you and your pastor husband for your faithfulness to our Lord in presenting yourselves as husband and wife - working together for the good of God's kingdom purposes!

I hope to meet both of you one day - this side of heaven!

Choosing JOY, Stephanie

NanaNor's said...

Dearest Beth, My heart grieves for this man and his boys as well. I loved your reflections though-they are very similar to mine that I posted today in regards to watching a dear friend at the end of her journey. Thank you for sharing, thank you hubby for ministering to the hurting as well.
Hugs, Noreen

cindy said...

way too close to me, you know!

a lighter note...his clothes were still in the dryer

Sonja said...

I felt every word! I am really proud of both of you for all the times you've 'been there' when it was hard. I still feel the same way about funeral homes, there is nothing I would rather not do!

But as you said so well...I too am so thankful that He didn't think it was 'too much', and He has given us hope even in that place.

This was a beautifully expressed post, and touched my heart.



Teresa said...

You have the gift to write and paint a picture so eloquently with words. This post has awakened me to a place of gratefulness to be here amongst my family. Thank you for your obedience to write this post...

Loren said...

Oh Beth....praying for this Man and his family. It is times like this that ONLY Jesus can bring a supernatural touch to those who are hurting soo deeply and questioning WHY oh WHY??? I can only imagine as much as you feel the loss of this family how much more does this man who has lost so very much! Praying and interceding for all of them. My heart goes out to all of you! Bless Jimbo for having such a gift and for your precious support in times like these!

Love you my friend

Beth E. said...

What a heartbreaking story, Beth! My heart grieves for this man and his family.

Praying for him, and praying for you and your hubby.


Yolanda said...

it's too much

Sister, this got me, and I'm with you, with walking this out with my's too much for me, but I'm thankful it's NOT too much for my God.

I love you and am praying for you and Jimbo.

Nancy said...

What an overwhelming experience. It's nice to know that your husband is such a comfort at times like that. Your post says it all.

Steph T. said...

It is too much...I am praying for you my sweet friend & that family. U are such a blessing to so many.

~ Being Woven said...

I lift this family in my prayers. May the LORD cover them all. And you and your husband. Truly, God's grace must surround pastors.
loving you, ~ linda

Nana Jul said...

I can't even imagine...and for you and your husband as well...Strength from God alone.
Too much indeed.
I have no words, But God has a promise Isa. 45:3

sister sheri said...

Thank you for being a support to your husband and to those in his care... and His care.

Liz said...

I just found your post brought me to tears. I think as mothers, it is so hard to face death, even if we know we will spend an eternity with Jesus. Our responsibilities are so great to our families, it's hard to imagine them living without us...makes me sick to even think about. I will be praying for this family, and thanking the Lord for each and every day he gives me, and those that I'm blessed to love and have in my life.

Beth in NC said...

Oh Beth. I started weeping as I read your post. This poor man and kids. God help him push through the grief and death to one day smile again and live.

I pray you and your husband will have divine wisdom how to love on this family.


GrammyGoo said...

Praying for this family Beth. Believing you & your husbands love and friendship helped to comfort this family if this time of deep loss.

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Praying for God's peace and comfort for that family.
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