After the holidays I like to get my carpets cleaned. This morning I moved some chairs and a table from the living room in preparation for the carpet cleaner to do his magic. The first thing I noticed was the mark left by the chair and table.
The furniture was no longer there but had left a mark; an indentation where they had been.
As I watched the carpet being cleaned, I saw the machine go back and forth as it removed the stains. Even after the cleaning, the imprints remained. So it is with our grief. Our loved one leaves an imprint where they have been in our lives. It will always be there. It’s a permanent mark. It can’t be removed.
This quote by theologian N. T. Wright clarifies this:
“Now love doesn’t stop at death – or if it does, it’s a pretty poor sort of love! In fact, grief could almost be defined as the form love takes when the object of love has been removed; it is love embracing an empty space, love kissing thin air and feeling the pain of nothingness. But there is no reason at all why love should discontinue the practice of holding the beloved in prayer before God.”
Because we loved, we grieve. Through our attachment, we formed a bond. We give ourselves a gift when we recognize and allow the “marks” of our loved one to be acknowledged and affirmed.
In my backyard, I have three orange trees that my husband planted. When I pick an orange, I think of him and how much he loved eating the fruit of his labors. As I take the first bite, I let myself take in the juice and consider the love and grief I experience in remembering my husband.
I Corinthians 13:13 says, “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love – but the greatest of these is love.”
Photo is of Akaka Falls, Kona, Hawaii
On a recent trip to Hawaii, I was able to visit this beautiful site. There’s a picture on my phone from 2018, a week before my husband died, of us in Costa Rica, standing in front of a waterfall.
Sweet memories come from the places we were that I now can discover on my own. Grateful, yet grieving.
Used with permission from Pam Luschei.