A Grief Remembered


Setting in a chapel service I found my self transformed yet again. My life forever altered in my journey to identify with my saviour. I sat there participating as we were led to prepare ourselves to receive the body and blood of Christ in a celebration of His sacrifice. The first thing we were asked to do was look back, to close our eyes and remember Him. We were encouraged to share a word or phrase that described our thought. One said “forgiveness”, another “mercy”, another “acceptance”. Many more descriptions were verbalized and I identified with all of them as I thanked God for all He was and for all He did for me. Then someone said,” sacrificed His Son” and while I cannot fully appreciate all that God felt and went through in the moment of His son’s agony and death, I had felt, with every once of my human capacity, the agony and grief of a father’s heart toward the death of his son. That statement, “sacrificed His Son”, started to set in motion what would soon be a stampede of emotion.

As if on cue, the Holy Spirit directing, our leader began to direct us to look forward, to heaven. She encouraged us to again share what we thought heaven would be like, what would we do and how we thought we might respond. Many words were used until a woman was prompted to say, “I can only imagine.” I have to say a small panic began to develop in me, “oh, no! I bet they sing that song!” You see, if they were to sing that song it would only be the 3rd time I would have heard the song since Jacob’s death. Not that it hadn’t come on the radio hundreds of times since then but when it did the radio would be turned down or to another station until it was safely over. You see days leading up to Jacob’s death that was the song he had been singing over and over. It was played at his funeral, several years later my oldest son sang it at my request and I had a melt down in front of my congregation and this was about to be the third time.

Sure enough, I heard the words, “let’s sing ‘I can only Imagine”. I felt like running out of the room but I couldn’t because I was one of the servers at this celebration. I was going to have to help serve. But if I had a melt down here, the focus would move from the preparation and focus on receiving the Lord’s sacrifice to my emotional break. I knew this could not be turned into empathy for me but needed to stay focused on Jesus’ sacrifice.

So the singing began and I put my head in my hands and prayed with everything in me. The grief came in waves over me, I began to shake from head to toe in my seat and tears flowed like little streams from my eyes but I was able to remain silent. Just when it was about to overtake me two wonderful friends came to my aid. One stood next to me and just place her hand on my shoulder the other sitting next to me did the same. They knew the power of the song in my life and helped me pray for God’s strength and healing, and when it didn’t even appear that I could breathe, they did that for me too.

I have to admit I don’t remember much that happened after that, even my role in serving the bread. But I am so thankful for the song because the memories connected with that song came flooding back and I was able to experience them once again. My grief is my connection to my little boy and to avoid it is to avoid the memory of him. While I cannot live in that place of grief very long I am thankful for the moments God tricks me and takes me to that place. I am also thankful to the Spirit and those he sent to pray so that moment didn’t become about me.

Jesus is my source, He is my help in my time of trouble and need. I am thankful that I have a better understanding of our father’s heart, I look forward to the day I will be able to share in the other experience He had as well. The reunion!

4 thoughts on “A Grief Remembered

  1. Greg Turner

    Dear Brother, thank you for sharing more of your story. Thank you for allowing those of us who stand, as it were, on the sidelines of your thoughts and feelings to enter in. To be sure, I have no way of understanding completely all the emotions you hold in your soul at the very thought of your precious little redheaded boy. But whenever you share something of what it’s like, you help me gain a somewhat clearer perspective of what your journey — the long journey for you and Pat — is like as you still make your way through that deep, dark valley of the shadow of death.

    Even as you find yourself treading where you prefer not to go, know that there are others who are willing to walk with you who, although they do no have the skills, the knowledge or the tools to effect the ultimate healing for which your heart yearns nevertheless they are there to listen, to offer you a shoulder on which you can lean and a prayer that God will give you the strength of his grace to help you continue on.

    Know that I’m praying that the day will not be long in coming when the healing you seek will be effected as you meet face to face the One who has promises to wipe away every tear. Until then, I will remain . . .

    Your fellow companion in the journey.


  2. John Comer

    Galen just remember that the Lord Jesus holds Jacob in his arms and you hold him in your heart. I know that the Lord Jesus holds you in his arms as well. And your heart is His; you gave it to Him.It is from this position you bless so many others. You have an understanding of the heart of God when he gave his only Son with clarity that many do not have. Yes, there will be a reunion and it will last forever. The blessed mystery of it all remains and “we can only imagine.” I love you and am praying for you. John

  3. Carri Hastings

    Galen, I couldn’t say it any better than Greg already has. The only thing that I can add is that I love both you & Pat & I’m here if you ever need anything. Carri

  4. Betty McCoy

    Galen, Sitting in that same room, the Holy Spirit flowing through the hearts of many, I myself absorbed in the moment, I had no idea of the emotions and grief you were feeling. Someone told me once that grief was like having contractions of child birth in reverse, all very intense with not much time in between at the time of birth, then slowly more time in between the intensity of feelings, then greater time in between with less intensity. I know God is holding you. He knows your pain. You voiced it so beautifully when you empathized with God’s pain as His Son died on the cross. We are all with you and support you and send loving thoughts and prayers your way.
    Your Sisters in Christ from St Paul’s UMC,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s