|photo by Jean Ann Williams|
“For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you.”
Less than a month later, I didn’t want to think of Easter.
After Easter church services, all I wanted was to fall into bed and sleep. All I needed was to forget the first celebration after Joshua’s death. Our extended family expected us at the home of a relative, but my heart couldn’t imagine visiting at a time like this.
I lay on the bed and sobbed. I missed my Joshua, who became a Christian at age fifteen on Easter. For me, it was a happy memory of that day that I couldn’t bear to remember.
An hour later, though, my husband and I were on our way. Tears slipped down my cheeks the entire half-hour trip. When I walked into the house, I was still sobbing. The men greeted my husband, and they left with him to talk outdoors.
I felt the women’s eyes on me. What on earth am I doing here? They won’t know what to do with me anymore than I do. So wounded by my loss, I sat in my chair and cried.
Soon, my niece, Candice, knelt at my feet and kept her hand on my knee. She stared up at me, not speaking. Her eyes filled, and her tears fell in compassion.
Seeing her sorrow, I knew for sure me being there was spoiling their Easter. I felt bad, causing Joshua’s cousin to cry. I shouldn’t be here.
Candice’s mom bent over and whispered, “Whatever you want to do, we’ll do it. If you want to go for a ride, we’ll go for a ride. If you want to sit here, we’ll sit here.” She wrapped her arms around me then, and she quivered with her own sorrow over the loss of her nephew, Joshua.
When my tears stopped, I heaved a sigh and she let me go.
The other women in the room took turns embracing me and gave a few words of encouragement. Mercy came that hour in the form of women I loved.
Lord, You propelled me into the year of firsts without my son, and showed me a community of women I could trust and who, so it seemed, needed to grieve with me. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen.