If you’ve read “Hey, God? Yes, Charles.”, you know that some of the conversations observe me being whiny, angry, irritable, and uncharacteristically helpless. That is because, during that time, I was often whiny, angry, irritable, and uncharacteristically helpless. Not very flattering, but true.
But it was also true that I knew then, and I know today, the gratitude that our family felt for all the support that surrounded us after Charles died. Before I was in that place, I could not have imagined the extent of grace that is often needed from the people who are on the outside looking in. Because they care about you, they wish you could buckle up, straighten up, give up the pain, and get on with it. But they also know those suggestions would be love in all the wrong places, and so they allow you to grieve for as long as you must, and in all the ways you must.
When my dad died two years ago, I called the wrong funeral home to make the arrangements. My parents’ home was 50 miles away and so, of course, the wrong guys then drove their hearse that distance to a Nashville hospital, and back. I KNEW the right mortuary. I knew the owners’ and manager’s names. My family had been doing business with them for over 50 years. I helped my dad make arrangements there after my mother’s death in 2007. Their burial plots are on THAT property and have been since 1955, when my parents purchased four – and paid $5.00 a month until the debt was retired. And yet, distraught and in the midst of grief, I called the one across town.
When the two businesses figured it out, they colluded. They colluded to give me peace. They colluded so I could handle it however I needed. Change it. Don’t change it. No apology needed. No judgment. Just tell them what to do next. So, seven years after my husband and my mother died four weeks apart, I lost my dad. Once again, I was going to need the gift of grace.
DEAR GOD, please let me offer to others what others have so richly extended to me.