These past couple of years, the pandemic has seemed to swallow everything up, especially when it comes to celebrating lives well lived and grieving for the deaths of loved ones. The “normal” stages of grief we were once able to share with others have become solitary and individualized as the pandemic has forced us to cope on our own, or in some cases, not at all.
I called many family members over this past year who had asked their friends to give to Sunset Senior Communities in lieu of flowers, and many shared stories of incomplete grief or no sense of closure or of peace. Sadly, I too experienced this with the loss of my uncle. Still deep in lockdown, I received an email in January stating, “There will be no funeral and a celebration of life will be sometime this spring…we hope.” In many instances, it felt almost as if the entirety of someone’s life was wrapped up with a nice and tidy bow and placed on a shelf somewhere to be quickly forgotten.
Across our world, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, and friends play significant and meaningful roles in our lives. For me, my Uncle Wally guided me through the childhood death of my father. He comforted me and reminded me in my darkest moments of grief that God never leaves or forsakes us. He was the wise and stern force I needed in college that told me to either get serious or drop out. And as a Christian man, he reminded me what it meant to restore the brokenness of this world for Jesus Christ.
A Support System at Sunset
Thankfully, we can once again grieve, honor, and celebrate our loved ones together. Still, grief itself can be a very difficult journey even with the greatest of support systems. As the noted author C.S. Lewis shared in his book A Grief Observed, “Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.”
At Sunset Legacy Foundation, we are here to support the families of our residents as you journey through the difficult moments of grief and loss. If you need intercessory prayer, let us know and we’ll keep you in our hearts and add your name to our prayer board. And, if you would like to be enriched by the words of C.S. Lewis, email us your name and address and we’ll send you a free copy of his book A Grief Observed. As Christians living in this world, we have the wonderful promise of knowing that our present sufferings cannot hold a candle to the glory that will be someday revealed to us. But in the meantime, we are here for you now.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28-29
If you are looking to join a grief support group, a local Hudsonville-based ministry Starlight Ministries has many resources for those who are grieving.
If you need daily email encouragement, our friends at Emmanuel Hospice have shared a tool offered by Grief Share.
If you are interested in making a gift in memory of a loved one to benefit Sunset Communities, click here.