I woke up this morning to the heart wrenching news that my friend’s father had passed away. It was like a kick to the stomach, and even though I was on the other side of the world, my heart ached deeply for my friend who must now face a lifetime without his dad.
None of us can escape grief. We are all destined to lose a loved one at some point in our lives. Some of us encounter grief when we are young. Others experience it when they are older. But none of us can escape it.
Everybody’s journey of grief is unique, that much is true. Yet I believe there is a universal truth that binds all grieving together: grief will inevitably outlast sympathy. While flowers and cards may stop arriving on the doorstep, there is no expiry date on grief. It may lessen over time. The pain may dull and ease. But grief never truly goes away.
It hides away inside of us, and emerges when we least expect it. A photo, a ray of light, a string of words, a smell, a musical note – all of these (and more) can trigger the grief, the tears and the heartache that come from losing someone we love.
Amidst the festive carols, the holiday lights and the shiny decorations, let us not forget those amongst us who will be grieving this Christmas. It doesn’t take much to show we care – a note, a letter, a hug and five simple words – “I am thinking of you” – are often more than enough.
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These flowers are gardenia magnifica and they are as fragrant as they are beautiful. They were left over from a wedding service held at our church last Sunday – our first this year. Tomorrow, sadly, there will be a funeral service instead – our fourth this year.
The magnifica was creamy white when we brought it home; eventually it turned yellow before the petals began to wither and crumple.
Such is the ebb and flow of life: transient yet rich with beauty. But though it is transient, we can nonetheless cherish it – every moment of every day.
More flora here.