Saturday morning, we drove across town for the first time since we left him there. It was a trip I’ve been dreading. I knew I wanted to go and that I wanted to go with Josh, but I still struggled to get out of bed.
As we pulled in, I took a silent, deep breath. The trees were bare, and the low, January sun was trying to sprinkle light through a thin film of clouds. We were unaccompanied except for the lone grave digger on the other side of the gardens.
With the car in park, we walked the familiar steps across the now crispy, dormant grass, and we spotted the pile of dark dirt. It was a small pile, just big enough for a two foot casket. As soon as my feet stopped beside it, the tears welled up.
“We miss you, Buddy,” Josh told him. We stood there with an arm around each other and stared at the upturned earth. I still just can’t believe this is our life.
Tage is buried diagonally from both my mom and grandma. Truth is, I hadn’t seen my mom’s grave until today either, and she’s been Home for over five years.
I just couldn’t do it until now. Cemeteries seemed so morbid to me, and I couldn’t bear to drive in and see her name in stone. But here we stood, looking at her grave, and Josh said, “Now that your mom and Tage are here, cemeteries don’t seem so bad anymore.”
It was true. There is something peaceful about all that quiet. About taking a few moments to just think and be still. About the memories that swirl around you as you stand there looking at the ground. About the fact that we know Tage’s bones lie beneath us, but he is not actually there.
I remembered Jesus to the man who hung beside Him on the cross,
“Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Indeed, Tage is not in that pile of cold dirt. But he’s not in our arms either, so we still cried.
But we got the first visit checked off. Maybe next time it will be a little easier with a little less melancholy.
We are definitely in the throes of grief now. The cards and meals have stopped coming (as they should), and we are walking the daily-ness of life without Tage. We are still clinging. But though there is darkness, I did see some light this week.
There was one particular 24-hour period where God made sure I remembered He’s still here.
I had just come home from the grocery store. I was unpacking my purchases when I noticed the corner of our kitchen counter that lately always holds flowers was bare.
It would be nice to have some flowers there, I thought to myself. I wish I would’ve gotten some while I was out.
Thirty minutes later, the doorbell rang. There was a smiling man from one of the local shops in town with gorgeous flowers in his hands. “Are you Josh and Molly Monroe?” he asked.
Stunned but excited, I smiled, “Yes, we are!” You sure have perfect timing, Lord, I thought, as I cradled the flowers sent to us by dear friends.
Later that day, I had a passing thought like many of us do in the early afternoon: I could really go for some chocolate or fruit or something. But there was none to be found in the house, and eventually, the craving lessened.
An hour later, the doorbell rang again. I was a little annoyed that I had to get up from my comfy chair, but I opened the door and laughed out loud. It was a box from Edible Arrangements. Are you kidding me? My craving quickly returned when I opened a box of chocolate dipped fruit sent by a former co-worker.
I am not making this up, people. No exaggeration.
The third and final surprise came when I realized it really was time to do some cleaning around here. The contractor wasn’t totally finished yet, but I just couldn’t take the dirty floors any more. I texted another friend from high school who had offered to help me clean sometime, and she graciously agreed to come by in an hour.
While I was waiting for her to arrive, my doorbell rang again. I looked out the window and there stood another friend from church with a bucket and cleaning supplies in hand! Surprise!
Flowers. Chocolate covered fruit. And a house cleaning. All in time for Valentine’s Day, too.
I have been reveling in these gifts for the past few days and left speechless at the timing of all three of them. God does supply our needs, but once again, I am reminded that He doesn’t always stop at needs,
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
(That’s Jesus talking, and He even said it with an exclamation. He means it!)
The thing is, it was not God Himself who showed up on my doorstep those three times with those good gifts. He used a friend from work, a former co-worker, a friend from church, and a friend from high school to bestow those blessings on this weary woman, but the timing could have only come from Him.
I continue to ask the Lord every day what He’s doing here. My heart hurts so much, and I just can’t see Him sometimes while the weight of grief still closes in. I ask Him to show up at my house and talk to me face-to-face so I can hear it straight from His lips that He’s still up to something. But the only bearded man walking into my house these days is Josh.
Instead, He sends you. We bring Jesus to each other. Through our time, our written words, our money, and our random acts of kindness, given to one another, He reveals that He hasn’t forgotten us.
Reminding me once again: if I feel a nudge to do something, no matter how much time has gone by or how long the card has been sitting on my desk or how absurd the idea may seem, I should still send it, write it, or do it.
Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17), and we are the gift-bearers.