It's Not all Joy

I used to wonder what it would feel like, the death of a loved one. 
The only death that had tainted my world was of great-grandparents, the elderly, dying in the most natural way, old age. There is pain and sadness there too, but it seems natural and fitting. It is the way of things. I couldn't really relate to what others experience when tragedy strikes, catching them off guard. Preying on the young and innocent, the strong and able, snatching lives without warning.
Now I know, and I wish I didn't. 
The season of life that I'm in right now seems to revolve around life, especially new life. Friends are announcing their pregnancies, or counting down the days to their due dates. Newborns are welcomed into the world, dotted on by aunts and sort-of-aunts, and toddlers run wild. Hardly a week goes by where I'm not reminded that 'Carson needs a playmate' by well meaning friends or complete strangers.
This season is full of joy, surely. But it's not all joy.  
I've grieved the loss of life, too. With friends who's dreams of arms full of baby were crushed when the bleeding started, and friends who buried their newborn, never getting the chance to hear him coo or cry. I watched as dirt was thrown onto the coffin of my closest childhood friend, and now, today, tears streak my face again, salty, as I grieve the news that my cousin, Cheryl, and her precious newborn son, died during childbirth. 
What should be an occasion of celebration and joy, has now become a living nightmare for her husband and their little year-and-a-half-old toddler son.
Tonight, again, I know all too well what death feels like. It's suffocating and numbing and heart-wrenching. But there is grace-sufficient woven in, and I'm praying that grace will fill our midst.
I have so many unanswered questions, and to be truthful, I want to scream 'What the heck were You thinking?' But I know that in times like these I can't trust my heart - with the ups and downs and unsteady beat. So instead, I cling to what I know is True: 
That He is good. That He is merciful. That He is loving. That He is sovereign.
And I cling to the many sweet memories I have of our friendship. Her life was short, but it was full. And, for it, I'm so thankful.
I miss you, Cheryl.
I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7


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