Life does not prepare us to mourn. No matter how imminent and how certain, we are still unprepared for the gut wrenching pain. Easter Day 29 years ago I did not feel the joy of the risen Christ having just buried my brother. Death did not lose its sting that Easter weekend, the pain was too fresh and sharp. It made no sense. He was only 22 years old, he loved life and his life was snuffed out after a very brief illness. Nothing could have prepared me for the magnitude of that tragedy. I have since lost others dear to me, but something in my heart was buried with Emmanuel that Easter weekend 29 years ago. Today the pain of losing a loved one is still immense but it is not the same as that first time. I have found a place in my heart to draw comfort and find peace with the passing of loved ones over time. The deep sense of loss is tempered with the firm knowledge that death is only a stage in life that is as certain and as predictable as breathing itself.
Once you get down to it why are we really hurting when someone dies? I found that I grieve for myself and those left behind rather than the person who passed on. We cry because we miss them, we mourn for what they could have been to us or to others in future, we hurt because we wanted more time with them. Grief can be a very selfish emotion indeed, so one important stage of grieving is learning to let go.
At 50 I know that I will never be prepared for the passing of a loved one and I cannot fully predict how deeply it will hurt, but I love this fleeting life and will not allow grief to get in the way of living it fully even as I prepare for the next life. Happy Easter.