You’re never truly over the loss of someone you love. You don’t get over it, you move past it. Jesus gives us the blessing of time. The Bible shows us that Jesus is never closer to us than when we are brokenhearted.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18
Last month, I turned 25. I was looking forward to going out to dinner with my parents, and we were having everyone over to our new house for a big cookout. Once you hit 21 birthdays are just another number but that doesn’t really stop me from big parties. What can I say? I’m Brazilian, it’s in my DNA. Being Brazilian means I have a pretty giant family and being 25 means I’m incredibly blessed to still have almost all of my grandparents around. My dad’s mom (Mimi) lives next door, my mom’s mom lives right down the street, and my mom’s dad and stepmom live just a couple hours away.
My Vovo, my grandmother’s husband, passed away when I was a kid. I have some pretty incredible memories of the two of us – he taught me how to play cards (even though I never developed a poker face), he taught me how to swim, and he taught me how to cook french fries on the stove. Vovo did some insanely amazing things with his life – he was an Olympic swimmer who won a bronze medal, he competed in several golf tournaments, and he served as an ambassador for Argentina. I thought he was invincible – and then he got sick. In the last few years of his life he had a couple of serious illnesses that really robbed him of the ability to connect with us. He passed away and it was the first time in my life I had lost someone. I didn’t really understand what happened, and when high school rolled around, I threw myself into Life Teen.
Flash foward to being 25, happily married, and having a party. It’s a tradition in my family that when we have a birthday we go to Mimi’s house to visit. She’s 93 and not as mobile as she used to be, so no big parties or travelling for her. I was sitting next to her talking about my husband’s new job when she handed a present to me. I. Love. Presents. I will totally and happily admit to that being my love language. When I opened the bag and pulled out the tissue paper I was holding a large silver cup that my grandfather won from a golf tournament exactly 50 years ago.
I thought I was over my grief. I didn’t expect it to sneak in through my defenses and punch me in the face with all the subtlety of a Bruce Willis movie. There’s no shame in the fact that when Mimi handed me that silver cup, I started crying like I was four years old again and my cousin told me unicorns weren’t real (we can talk about denial in another post). But there are proper times for everything in life. Ecclesiasties 3:1-14 tells us that there is a time for everything.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;”
It’s now been a few weeks since I got the cup, and it’s sitting proudly on my bookshelf. I see it every morning when I get a cup of coffee and I think about the good memories my Vovo left me. I went through my season of mourning, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not allowed to be sad sometimes. Life is about being authentic. Jesus tells us to live the truth: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The Father wants us to come to Him will our worries, our joys, our grief. The Bible is full of places lamenting those who turn away from the face of Jesus. There is no greater comfort than sitting in front of Jesus in adoration or participating in the mass. So the next time grief sneaks in, make room in your heart and spend some time thanking Jesus for this beautiful life we’ve been given. I’ll salute you with an old silver cup.