It would easy to spend all my time preoccupied with the past.
The way it was.
Looking at – no examining – old photographs. Studying, not just the image of our son, but the background, too. Everyday scenery that has not changed but is so totally different now. Trying to find the what-ifs casually arranged behind the smiling faces. Little things that might have influenced the outcome. Searching the backdrop of the ordinary in the context of what our lives used to be with Hans in it.
Trying to figure out what happened.
Watching videos of Hans, listening to his voice on the answering machine, replaying old memories in my mind, smelling his clothes, touching his belongings, imagining his presence…
Allowing myself to sit motionless in the ashes of missing him until I cannot function, and the cobwebs of longing choke the life out of my heart.
Truly, this is what I would like to do all day long.
It would be easy. But…
Of course, I cannot do that.
There are other people to live for. New memories to make. Work that must be done.
Yes, I can understand how people get lost in that old slough called Despond. I understand why they become stagnant, disoriented and aimless – sometimes for the rest of their lives.
I understand this.
And sometimes that frightens me.
Hans is with the Lord, and I am still here. Hans was taken for a good reason. And I am still here for a good reason. God would not allow this much pain, would not have taken Hans, unless He had a very, very, very good reason.
I trust Him for that. I don’t need to know the reason.
And, as pleasant as the past was, as sweet as the memories are, it is over.
So, here are the facts:
Today, right this minute, the actual living Hans is not back there in the past. He is not here with me in my present except in my memories. Hans is presently and actually very much alive, though very far away beyond the stars, with the Lord in His beautiful, happy Heaven where I will be someday.
Hans is in my future.
Reality demands that I accept the facts as they are. It is a matter of discipline to remember those facts, believe them, and live them with love, purpose, and praise for my Father in Heaven who loves me and in whose presence Hans now is.
-Chapter 36, Looking Forward. From my book, Never Ceasing: God’s Faithfulness in Grief