The thing about it is that it is just so permanent. I’ve written about this before. (http://autumnbennet.blogspot.com/2012/10/permanence.html) But you see, that was before I really realized how long it takes you to adjust to the absence of a person who has always been there.
I don’t know a whole lot about death, to be honest. I haven’t had a whole lot of experience with it. Grandparents have died, and that’s sad, but certainly not death at its most tragic. Even since I sat down to write this, my thoughts on death have changed. The very first thing that I said was that death is permanent.
Well, I changed my mind. I was wrong. It’s not.
Death is just the thing that gets us from life to God. It’s just a term to define the moment when we become immortal. But to us, it feels permanent. The separation is new and awful and it will never end, until we do. And since we are human, and have trouble grasping the concept of life that goes on and on and on… the ending of ourselves seems scary, and we find ourselves dancing between wanting the end for some reasons and not ready for the end for other reasons.
This separation that happens when a person disappears from your life… the gap feels wide, and it’s hard to believe that it will ever be crossed. You fully believe that it will be. It just seems as though the crossing will take place far in the future, and the thought of living with that separation, the constant emptiness where that person used to be, hurts.
It’s not so bad if you don’t think about their absence too much.
The problem is that you are so used to having them there that you automatically think of them. You may find yourself driving home on the expressway, your mind occupied with many things. And then you see the Victoria Street exit, and don’t have time to stop yourself from thinking “Hey! I could drop by her house!”. And you remember many different things about her and her house… it’s been a long time since you’ve driven that route. You remember how, as you’re leaving the town, if you look to the left, you will see Kitchener lit up and alive.
“I should tell her this” turns into “I wish I had told her that.”
The separation feels permanent. Sometimes the way we feel is not what is true. Sometimes we know what is true, but the truth seems inconceivable and preposterous, and it’s easier to just feel the way we feel instead.
But the truth is reliable and awesome and unchangeable and not meant to be abandoned. Truth was given to us for a reason. To comfort us, to encourage us, to inspire us, to make us stronger than we ever could be on our own.
“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”