“God is good, and he can be trusted,” are the words I heard the other night. Familiar words from Dallas Willard, and a familiar idea from Jesus (and from many others who lived between Jesus and Dallas). Words that always ring true, but which suddenly struck me as not being as distant or as dissonant as they have since September 12. I was rather surprised that I didn’t find myself scoffing or pushing this thought away as I would have several months ago. I take this is a good sign, and evidence of healing.
On the weekend just before the six-month anniversary of Will’s death, we accepted an invitation to attend a memorial gathering at Children’s Hospital for families who had lost children recently. An invitation which we instantly rejected as weird and an event which seemed hopelessly cheesy. And yet, after a couple of days, The Wife and I realized that it would, in fact, be a good thing for us to do. Owing in large part to this quote on the invitation, which seemed to wedge itself in our consciousness:
“Healing from grief is not the process of forgetting,
it is the process of remembering with less pain and more joy”
–Malina Ann Hill, M.A.
So we gathered up a few artifacts of Will’s life, made that familiar drive, parked in the same old parking garage, and walked through the cafeteria to a bright Atrium where we did individual art projects and informally talked with chaplains and staff and volunteers about life and death, and life again. Later, we sat in a circle to talk and listen and share a common bond with three other families. A bond that none of us want, but which all of us are doing our best to deal with. I read some dark poetry, and immediately wished I hadn’t, though everyone listened politely. In the end, we all thanked each other for coming. It was a very hopeful and healing gathering, and it has helped me to move forward ‘with less pain, and more joy.’
I love you, Will, and I miss you.