“So sad. So sad.”
She shook the hands of each person exiting the vehicles. We were all silent.
After a brief moment of no one knowing exactly where to look or what to say, Agnes led us to the freshly filled grave. There were several flower arrangements on the moist earth. Agnes stood closest to the burial site. She was stoic. We all gathered around and a prayer was spoken. Young Anna Marie, stood back from the rest. She didn’t take her eyes off her mom. Her normally happy eyes filled with deep concern each time Agnes’ tears overflowed.
The next hour ushered us into a grandmother’s sitting room and into Scripture.
We weren’t looking for answers.
I do not know of any answers in the face of such sorrow.
I sought to offer Ivan’s family a response.
Jesus stood by fresh graves too. He saw burials and heard the wails of the grieving.
We are told that Jesus was deeply moved or troubled in spirit when he witnessed the grieving. (Luke 7:11-17; John 11:1-44)
According to the Lazarus story, he even wept.
Yet, in both of those scripture references, He was going to conquer the death. He was going to raise the person up. Amazement and joy were coming, and He was burdened by the death anyway.
We offered to Agnes that Jesus sees her tears, hears her wails and aches for her loneliness.
Even though He knows that good is coming. And Life awaits those who believe.
Our current pain is still His pain.
I long for people to meet this Jesus. This One who knows us so well.
The One who has cried real tears and felt real heartbreak. The One who had to wipe his snotty nose.
I believe young Ivan walks with Him now.
The holidays are a painful time to grieve. But inevitably, grief comes. Or returns. The lights, the decorations, the songs and the food can ignite memories of those who have passed on.
Dear Ones, who carry such a weight, Jesus knows. He completely understands the pain and stench of death. He went, even there.
Death could not hold Him. Nor will it hold us, if we believe in Him.
I am certain of that life on the other side.
But my tears sure flow freely right now.
Ivan passed from this life on the morning of November 17, 2009. He was hit by a car on the road near his home. He was not yet 10 years old. He is survived by his mother Akiiki Agnes, sister Anna Marie, grandmother, uncles, aunts, cousins and a church family who loved him so much.
“…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5