This week we all say goodbye to my uncle. Just a few short months ago he was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away yesterday.
Our family has dealt with a lot of death in the last two years. Each time I have been surprised and overwhelmed at the beauty I have seen in those moments. Love pours out of people in these times. You see strengths in people you never knew existed. Though I was not there for his final moments, I was there the day before when he took a turn for the worst. While it doesn't take the pain away, it was breathtaking to watch God make the ugly beautiful right before my eyes in those hours.
I saw a wife being emptied of herself as she did all she could to live up to her vow to love her husband in sickness and health, until they were parted by death. I saw sisters and brothers-in-law pouring themselves out so that my aunt could do whatever she needed to be there for her husband. I saw two children working diligently to learn a business so their mother and father could focus on his health. I saw cousins and their children coming together to grieve and share some laughter. I saw people not even related jumping in to make meals, watch children, and provide comfort and someone to talk to when needed. I saw a daughter-in-law using her God-given talent in medicine to ask the right questions, make her father-in-law comfortable, deal with doctors, and have to leave the room to cry because she knew what she didn't want to have to say was happening.
Life is hard. Death is ugly. But the beauty that surrounds death for those who are willing to pour themselves out and get real with those around them is astounding. The love, compassion, and selfless service is rarely seen in any other circumstance. Though it doesn't make losing someone any easier, it gives the reminder that those who know Christ do not grieve without hope. Praise God! This is not the end! Death does not win! We grieve, we miss their presence in our lives, but we know that this is not the end. Hallelujah!
Oh, Father, wrap Your arms of peace and comfort around my family right now. Surround my aunt with those who will continue to love and care for her in my uncle's absence. Show me how to love on my family and any others that I may meet who are grieving. Help us to see the beauty in the ugly.