In the second session, Nancy shared some excellent advice and insight about relating to a friend who is suffering. I basically cried through the session. So much of what she said took me back to this time six years ago as I watched my friends grieve the loss of their 5-year-old daughter.
I wrote about Lindsey earlier this year on her birthday in April. Today marks 6 years since her death.
While Lindsey's birthday is a bittersweet day, it is at least a time for celebrating her birth and life. I feel for my friends who miss the daughter they can't celebrate in person on that day, but I rejoice with them over the fact that Lindsey was born and that she lived for five years.
But November 7 is more of just the bitter side of things, as it is a day filled with agonizing memories. On this day, I just try to say "I miss Lindsey, and I haven't forgotten."
One of the most beautiful things Nancy Guthrie said in regards to a friend's grieving process was this--she said not to be afraid of or uncomfortable with the tears and sadness or see these things as a problem to be overcome or "gotten over" in a timely manner. Because, she said--
"There are some things worth crying about, some people worth a great sorrow."
Nancy did reference the joy that Christians can have in knowing that their loved one is in God's presence--she said, "The presence of God is not tragic." So true! But she encouraged us as Christian friends not to be too quick to put that balm of healing on an open, gaping wound. Instead, she said, make room for the tears and sadness.
The day after Lindsey died, I went to my friend Laura's house to bring a small gift to Lindsey's little sister Cadence (age 3 at the time). The movie Cars had just come out on DVD, and I had been thinking about giving that to Lindsey and Cadence anyway because we had seen that movie together as families just a few months prior. That day Caroline and I stopped by to drop it off and check on Cadence. When we got to the house, Jason and Laura weren't there (they were out making burial and funeral arrangements with the help of a family member), but Cadence was upstairs playing with her cousins. The house was full of friends and family members, many from out-of-town. One friend had me write my name down on a sheet of paper where she was starting to keep track of visitors, and as I looked at that sheet and looked around at the rooms full of sisters and friends taking care of things for Laura, I lost it emotionally.
I was standing there with people who were even more closely touched by Lindsey's death than I was, and I felt terrible for coming over to cry in front of them. I felt like I should get it together before Cadence came downstairs, but I couldn't. I said, "I'm so sorry, I just can't help it!" And Laura's friend--who had welcomed me into the kitchen cheerfully and graciously, but who had no doubt cried her own share of tears that morning--said warmly, "Goodness--if we can't cry about this, then what can we cry about?"
Those words have gone over and over in my mind ever since. I think she was saying something very similar to what Nancy said. Of course we will cry. The reality is that even though we do not grieve as though we have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14), losing someone is sorrowful. And they are worth the tears.
Today, as I think about Lindsey and her sweet family, I will let the tears come as they may and see them as a testament to the fact that Lindsey was a very, very special girl with a meaningful life and that her loss was profound. And I don't think that needs to be apologized for or given a disclaimer. I feel like I understand this better today than ever before.
We love and miss you, Lindsey Grace Boehm.
More about the picture at the top of this post can be found here--what Caroline and I did on this day in 2007.