It hardly seems like it has been 20 years. But, time marches on, and it seems to go faster and faster. Twenty years ago this week, my baby sister, who was the Maid of Honor in our wedding, was killed in a car accident. I’ve come to realize a number of things over the last 20 years (or at least to be reminded of some important truths that I already knew) that I thought I’d share with you (in no particular order and not exhaustive by any means). Perhaps you may find some of these things to be helpful.
1. Life on earth is not forever. It never was intended to be.
2. Life on earth is not guaranteed for a certain length of time…for anyone.
3. Grief may get “easier” in some ways (or not) or it may just get “different.” But don’t let it define who I am.
4. Listen to people’s hearts and their good intentions and don’t get caught up in someone’s poor choice of words.
5. Be there for others who experience similar loss, but don’t act like a know it all. Each death and grief is different.
6. Don’t lean on or rely on trite sayings that are not Biblically sound. Discard them.
7. Lean on Jesus and His word. More and more and more.
8. TRUST GOD! He has made promises to which He IS and WILL BE faithful! He will NOT leave me or forsake me! He IS there FOR me and WITH me, even if I doubt that sometimes. No matter what, trust Him! He knows! He cares!
9. There may not be an answer to the question, “Why?” And that’s ok. Don’t go digging for it.
10. It’s ok to not have all the answers or not even most of the answers, and sometimes (even often) it is better that way.
11. Hang on to her (through memories) and miss her every day, but it’s ok to keep living, loving, going, doing, serving, etc.
12. It’s ok to be sad, but it’s ok to be happy, too.
13. It’s ok to talk about her, and it’s ok to not talk about her.
14. It’s ok for others to talk about her, and it’s ok for others to not talk about her.
15. Blame (whether directed at God, me, her or someone else) is NOT helpful or healthy, and it is often harmful and usually misplaced (because I lack full knowledge and information). Resist blame. It doesn’t bring her back and it only serves to embitter me.
16. Don’t play the “What if…?” game. I will lose every time!
17. Ask God to use this to help me to be a stronger Christian —trusting Him more, serving Him more, loving Him more.