We all face tests, when we went to school, we face the tests the teachers give us the end of the week. We face tests of strength, tests of character, tests when we get a driver’s license. Sometimes tests will come in our relationship with a loved one or friend. But I believe the biggest test that we go through, is when a friend or relative passes away. It’s not easy to be strong and stand up under the pressure of knowing that someone who was close to you that you loved would no longer be there.
All the times you spent together laughing and crying sharing each other’s most intimate secrets or jokes. When it’s a relative, the person who passes away is too close to our own mortality. When my brother passed away, it was like a piece of me died also. I had to realize that my brothers and I weren’t immortal.
It has been said that Standing between you and eternity is you Grandparents, and your parents. When you see your Grandparents die, then you realize that it’s just your parents standing in the gap. When your parents die, you realize that the shield protecting you from eternity has been removed. If your brothers or sisters die, it’s like pieces of your mortality are being chipped away.
Just before Christmas, My Brother-in-Law’s wife passed away with cancer. Basically the family seemed to be doing well, and a lot of family and friends gathered for the funeral. Friends comforting friends, family huddled together, talking about the memories of the love one they shared. After the funeral they all went their separate ways to grieve in their own way.
It’s not easy especially for the husband or wife of the deceased. They will need the support of family and friends more than ever for the first few days. I know that some people think that they need to be left alone. But that is not true. They need someone or several someones, who will be there for them, when they need to have a shoulder to cry one, someone who will listen to the memories over and over again as the grieving person tries to heal the wound in his or her heart. Be that shoulder to cry on, be the one who encourages them to eat, to talk, and, Yes, even get mad and yell.
It’s not only the spouse that will be grieving, take a look around, do you see that little person, a grandson, granddaughter. They will be grieving also. The passing of a beloved older person is sometimes inconceivable to them. They need to feel love and protection at this time.
Don’t leave them without some closure at their loss. The pain will never leave, but it will become manageable. My parents died at a ripe old age, but the pain of losing them still lingers. Only those of us left behind can comfort each other. I don’t want to be the one who could have been there for someone and neglected to do so.
Dr. Raymond Augenstein PhD. was born in Michigan. He served in the US.Navy as a yeoman attached to the CID. He attended Bible college in California after military service, became a Pastor, Evangelist and Gospel recording artist. He continued studies to become a licensed counselor and earned a Doctorate Degree from The University of Michigan, after retiring from 42 years in the ministry. He is the former Supervisor of Hayes Township.