Friday, October 22, 2010

Mourning the Loss of my Friend


“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

          “Good-bye, Michele,” I said in my heart as I looked upon her casket.  
          She didn’t look anything like I had remembered. The multiple surgeries and the chemotherapy took a huge toll.
          Tears poured down my face as I quickly turned away and rushed toward the pews to find a seat. I rifled through my handbag to find some tissues. I wanted to bolt out of the sanctuary and stand outside in the church’s foyer or parking lot to relieve my pain.

Fighting for her Life
          My friend had been fighting cancer for about four years. She lost the battle last week, and the Lord called her home. The news of her passing hit me like a brick. I didn’t want to believe it. I regretted that we hadn't been in touch with one another, and I didn't know how sick she was. I prayed for God to strengthen her husband, children, extended family members and her friends (myself included) who loved her. I didn’t know how I or anyone else was going to get through today, but the Lord was with us.

Comforting Words
          When I got up at 5 am this morning to pray, the Lord reminded me that I didn’t have to grieve like those who have no hope. Michele was saved and now at home with Him, and I’d see her again. The Lord also reminded me that she was actually alive even though she had passed away (John 11:25-26). Suddenly, I had some peace, and I felt confident that I’d be able to face the day.

Good ol' Times
          Michele was a wonderful person. She loved to cook, entertain, laugh, dance and hang out with the girls. We had some good times together.
          Her funeral was bittersweet. The officiating pastor comforted everyone with the Word of God, and, boy, did she preach the gospel. And even though my husband and I mourned the loss of our friend, we were reunited with old friends of ours we hadn’t seen in 10 years. We were so happy to see everyone. We hugged, kissed, cried, laughed and reminisced about the good times we used to have. After the repast, we took pictures, promised to share them through email, and keep in touch. I can’t wait for all of us to see each other again.
          Today, I learned the importance of celebrating my friend’s life, remembering the good times, and not forgetting that she is with the Lord in glory. I also learned that God can turn your sorrow into joy in an instant — even at a funeral. Only our God can do that. May we praise His Holy Name!



20 comments:

  1. Judy - My condolences on losing a good friend. Praise God we don't mourn like those with no hope - but we still mourn. I am reminded of the verse that says He stores all our tears in a bottle - I believe that means that He sees and feels each one. We have a wonderful God, who knows our heartaches...and cares.

    However, for Michele - WOO HOO!! She had her "Homecoming Day!" I look forward to meeting her with you someday on the other side!!

    May God comfort you and be with Michele's family at this difficult time. I hope that the presentation of the Gospel reached someone that day...

    GOD BLESS, Judy - have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. Hi Sharon,

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. The funeral was today.

    Blessings,
    Judy

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  3. Hi Judith -

    I too extend my condolences...

    We have our "seasons" of grief and it is painful. We have emotions that we need to release. Our Lord certainly understands, precious lady.

    JESUS wept and so will we but it is such a comfort to know that the everlasting arms of our Father hold us dearly.

    Revelation 14:13 - KJV
    And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

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  4. Hi Judy,

    Like so many others, I extend my condolences to you and to the family and friends of Michele. I've been in Texas this week and during my time here I was informed of the death of an aunt and a good friend and brother (I met during the time I lived here).

    As I talked with my friend's wife, we shared tears of joy and memories of his life. We hugged and promised to stay in touch. When my wife and I shared that we plan to relocate to Texas, she was gracious to offer her home, she is a joy and blessings. Although her husband (Robert) succumed to stage 4 cancer, he did not suffer a long painful death; he was diagnosed in January and subsequently died in March. Circumstances somehow prevented her attempts to communicate with us, so we didn't know of his illness and homecoming. Although I've lost a valued friend in this life, I look forward to seeing him in the next.

    My aunt went home on Monday at the age of 94. She was the sole living sibling of my Grandmother and I will miss her. The other morning I woke up with the thought that she is home now with her sisters and brothers, and her parents. She has entered into her rest.

    As David said in 2 Samuel 12:23 about the death of his infant child, "...I will go to him, but he will not return to me." -- I will see my aunt, friend, and others again, so will you Judy.

    This is the hope we have in Christ.

    Blessings and peace.

    MTJ

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  5. I am sorry for your loss, yet uplifted in knowing you will see your friend again. Thank you for your beautiful post, my bloggy friend. May today be easier for you and your friend's memory eternal. (((HUGS)))

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  6. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, Michele. It is sad and thank God for your faith which comforts you in your sadness. How close He is in difficult times. He keeps his promises as you well know. Now you have a friend in heaven who is smiling that you have connected with the others. Michele will be with you all. Peace to you Judy. I've only recently discovered your blog but through Christ, we are all one body.

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  7. Judy,

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Please take care of yourself during this very difficult time. Cyber hugs coming your way from a complete stranger!

    Jane

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  8. With all due respect, I am sorry for your loss. I also see that she left you with a gift and that gift was reuniting with friends you hadn't seen in years and the promise of rekindling the friendship. I get the impression your friend Michelle was just that kind of friend. A kind one.

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  9. @Oh Sew Good ... yes Michele gave us a gift indeed. As I mentioned in my article, our sorrow was turned to joy. Thank you so much!

    Blessings,
    Judy

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  10. @Sandra ... Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. Ad I love that scripture from Revelation. What a blessing.

    @MTJ ... Thank you for reminding me of the hope we have in Christ and for sharing your own experiences.

    @seams inspired, Deodate and Jane: Thanks for your kind words, your cyber hugs, and for reminding me of God's blessings. Death of a loved one is so hard to take. But thankfully we have the Lord who gives us hope and peace in the midst of it.

    Blessings,
    Judy

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  11. sorry ya lost a friend,

    huggs

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  12. Judy I am sorry for the loss of your friend. However, as you said, when the deceased is Christian, we do not grieve as those without hope.

    Blessings and peace to you during this time.

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  13. Thank you Joan for your sentiment. I feel really blessed to have such nice blogger friends!

    Blessings,
    Judy

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  14. ...my condolences for loosing a friend... may she rest in peace and loving hands of the Lord...

    A Blessed Sunday!!!:)

    .kelvin

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  15. I am so sorry for your loss ~ your friend Michele fought a brave fight ~ God saw her getting weary and decided to take her home ~ may she rest in peace ~ my thoughts and prayers are with the family ~ Ally x

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  16. It saddens me to hear about the loss of your friend. I pray for her family, that God will comfort them during their time of grief.

    ~Ron

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  17. Judy, I'm so sorry for the loss of your precious friend Michele but I celebrate that she is healed and whole and no longer in pain -- she is with the LORD and as such you both will be reunited again one day on the other side of glory.

    My prayers are with you and her family.

    Blessings and love.

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  18. Hi Judy, it's always painful to lose a loved one. I'm sorry for your loss, but happy she is with the Lord. I pray you the Lord comforts you in those moments when you feel the pain of her absence and that you can also be a comfort to her family.

    I'm finding that when a loved one goes home to be with the Lord, it's also an opportunity for those of us left behind to help others find the true meaning of life.

    God bless you!

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  19. Looking through your blog posts, and came across this one. You're so right about the positive things of loss. The subject of grief, loss, and God's comfort is dear to my heart ever since I had the terrific whammy of losing 5 close family members within 5 months.

    And I may be grieving over Google again, if it doesn't let me post this comment!!!

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