I have put off posting what it was like to go through the anniversary of Emma’s death. Perhaps partly because it went so much smoother than I expected and I have been waiting for something to happen to change that, and partly because I felt the need to continue a bit longer in a private personal rememberance. The transition from one year to more than a year went quite smoothly. I felt that if I had not chosen to mark the day, it very well could have passed with little notice. But then again, perhaps it was because I had worked myself up for that day so much that I was able to walk through it so easily. To be honest, I limited myself to what memories I allowed myself to dwell on because I did not want to spend the time in tears. Since that day, I have slowly began noticing signs of emotions building up inside. I did cry the other day, about something that I would normally not cry about, and having nothing to do with Emma. That was a sign that I am a little bit too full of emotion right now. Yesterday I found myself close to tears, again over little things that were childish to be upset about.
Last night, our wonderful, kind Father gave me the release I needed. Since in my waking hours I was unwilling to allow myself to feel those things I needed to feel, he brought them to me while I slept. I dreamt last night, a dream of loss. It was a dream that reminded me what it was like when grief is fresh, when the night feels so dark and there is fear that comes with passing so close to death. I remembered the first night after Emma’s death, when I awoke in tears, much like last night, crying softly so as not to awaken my husband. I’m not sure why I do that, I am sure he would be willing to share in my greif, but many times we feel that we must cry alone. I do not still have the same feelings relating to Emma. I am not still in that place. I am glad that I have travelled a year from that day, that the feelings are no longer so intense. But the loss is still there, usually tucked deep inside where it does not interfere with my daily life, but still felt. It will be there till the day I die, the little hole that Emma left in my heart when she went home. And so, I was able to remember those feelings, to cry the tears that needed to be shed, and to feel the Father’s comforting arms.
That is one thing the Lord has been pointing out to me lately–His love. I know that He greives with me. He does not greive for Emma for he has her with him. He probably greived for her while she lived and as he walked through her many trials with her. But now, I believe he greives for me and John, and the rest of our family. He greives merely because we greive. He knows our loss, and though he knows the joy that is to come, I do believe he can still appreciate the sadness we feel right now. One of the clearest times I saw this side of God’s heart was in listening to the story of Lazarus’ death. My heart cries out with Mary and Martha as they say the words: “My Lord, if you had been here, he would not have died.” And though I know the truth just as they did, I can identify with those feelings of deep sorrow that echo in those words. And the Bible records that he was deeply moved and that “Jesus wept.” I know there are probably many interpretations to the exact reason that Jesus wept, but as I heard these words, it was as if he whispered to me, “and I weep for you when I see your tears.”
Another thing I find very meaningful to me in my lessons learned from Emma is true joy. I was never able to experience the joy that only comes from first walking through deep sorrow. Who would have thought that sorrow and joy walk so closely together, and yet they do. The bible teaches this too, does it not? “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” James 1:2 This joy is hard to explain, but has something to do with the love that we experience, the closeness with God, and the promises he has made to us. I am in the process of writing a poem that contains a bit of what it means to experience this joy and will share it when it is finished.
Many of you have reminded me of how much you also have learned in this past year in your rememberance and learning of Emma. I am pleased that God has used her story and life to touch so many others. I am also pleased that he has used me in this. I was reminded by him in my prayer and fasting time the day before Emma’s anniversary that it is his work that is using me and has very little to do with me myself. It is a wonderful truth to know that God can work through someone who is so undeserving, so remember that when you look at us. And let your prayer for us be, as we learned in the pastor’s sermon on Sunday, that God “would keep us.”