But now, as it is, sorrows, unending sorrows must surge within your heart as well—for your own son’s death. Never again will you embrace him striding home. My spirit rebels—I’ve lost the will to live, to take my stand in the world of men.
From Homer's Iliad
For some reason, Jolene and Mom have been on my mind fairly often this last week or so. Oh, I could trace the sequence of events . . .a woman posted somewhere that her son had committed suicide. I suggested she read the early posts here on this blog, when every day was a struggle and I wrote about it.
I went back and read those posts again. And even more than Jolene, I felt the loss of Mom. She was so much a part of what was happening. By this point four years ago, I reported that Mom no longer looked up on a Friday night, expecting Jolene to walk through the door. We had accepted the reality that she wasn't on an extended trip. She was gone from this earth, permanently.
But Mom wasn't. And yet, looking back on it, Jolene's death marked the beginning of the end for Mom. It was that summer that her heart began to fail, that fall when she had her heart valve replaced, the next spring when she went into an assisted living center permanently, and two years from Jolene's death when she went home to be with the Lord.
I lost them both, leaving me the single Musketeer. And I am missing both of them, sometimes quietly, sometimes fiercely.
I am working on devotional readings from the hymn "It Is Well With my Soul," and, at the moment, the phrase "when sorrows like sea billows roll." As I examined many quotes on sorrow, I was surprised that over and over, sorrow and joy were mixed together.
I guess that makes sense. If I cut myself off from sorrow, I also cut myself off from love and joy. Loving someone leaves me vulnerable to hurt. If pain is a measure of love, then I loved them with everything in me.
When I read Homer's poetry, oh, how I related. I will never again see Jolene or Mom walking through the door. Jolene will never again crush me with one of her hugs or rid my back of tension with her magic fingers. My spirit, too, rebels. I have the will to live, but I've been there. It hurts. It's hard.
And yet I know the truth that God comforts those that mourn. He comforts me. And like Paul, I pray that God's comfort will flow through me to others who are mourning.
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