How sunny is your sun?

So I am once again facilitating grief groups in churches and other community organizations and every now and then I stumble across a saying in the group that really touches me.

One of the wonderful ladies in this latest group I am doing credited her father as saying that with every death (loss) the sun becomes less bright.

Less bright?!?

I thought to myself how I can imagine that happening. It seems that when we suffer loss — particularly of a loved one — something changes. Things do not look the same. It is like the vision captured by your eyes is not as sharp as it was.

I first experienced this when my grandfather died. Now maybe it started happening at my grandmother’s death but I was younger and didn’t notice as much. But for sure I noticed it when my grandfather died. He was very special to me. He was funny, he was the first Male figure that actually paid attention to me as a young boy. I felt when talking to my grandfather that I mattered.

When he died, I was 29, married with a kid on the way and in a career, loving life. That was all new to me but my environment paused to give honor to an important figure in my life and the experience left my vision slightly impaired– things never looked the same.

I would later experience this when my mother-in-law died. She was a beautiful woman with an inclusive heart. When she loved you, you knew you were loved. She was kind and had a “tell it like it is” spirit. I can recall the first Christmas without her. She was gone, but her spirit was the elephant in the room. For a woman who taught us all the true meaning of Christmas and family, to be gone is more than we could imagine. We couldn’t say her name without fighting back tears. I finally spoke and we begin to share her spirit with each other. Still for us the sun has just never been as bright as it was before she passed.

Perhaps the dulling of the sun is a signal that with each death we die a little too. And with each death we draw closer to our own end — maybe that’s really what scares us about death.

Nevertheless, don’t stop loving. Don’t stop caring and definitely don’t stop grieving. Live without regret and don’t worry about that sun you see because you know the Son that sees!