Loss can feel like a great abyss, like my parents are a trillion miles in space, on a planet I’ve never seen, in a place I can neither fly to nor telephone. But death doesn’t end a relationship.
Nor does it end a connection. No, it’s not the one I want. I want them here. In front of my face. But at least our bond isn’t completely severed.
I felt the connection again one July evening in 2013 when I was going through my parents’ things at their home. I found a letter. It had been mailed to them in the 1960s before I was born.
I thought I’d heard the last of my mother’s stories. My dad gave facts. She told stories. But what I found in that house spoke to me. Their things tell stories they aren’t here to tell.
This story was about how much they wanted to become parents. Perhaps the reason I’d missed this story while they were living was because I am not a parent and I’ve never consistently felt the yearning to be one. Though I knew I was adopted – my mother couldn’t have children – I still missed this story. Though I knew adoption is a long process that takes drive and dedication, and though I knew they’d been married eight years before I was born – I still missed this story.
The letter was from a friend of theirs. It was a sympathy letter of sorts. She consoled my parents about not getting the girl they’d tried to adopt.
On previous occasions, I’d read a couple of letters encouraging my parents to press on in their attempts, but this one struck me with the fact of how much my folks wanted to be parents. Their friend knew this. It came through in the letter.
As I read it, I felt as if my mother was there in the dining room with me, smiling at me. She never hesitated to tell me she loved me. And then, in that letter, I heard it again.
But what is connection and love if it is only something we feel?
As a Christian, I don’t grieve without the comfort of knowing I’ll see my parents again someday. I cannot bridge the great abyss that death created by living a good life, by doing religious deeds or by any other means, but God planked that abyss with a cross. Jesus paid the penalty for my sinfulness so he could connect me with God.
And, I think, he did that to connect me with other believers, such as my parents. I’ll hear “I love you” again from Mom and Dad. Face to face.
When or where do you sense connection with your loved one?
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