Grief is a freight train.
It rolls in fast and unannounced. It’s loud. It wreaks havoc.
Early Saturday morning my best friend called me,
“My parents were in an accident. Mom didn’t make it, dads on a ventilator. How far are you from Jackson?”
I remember seeing a light on the way to Jackson.
It was dark, barely 2 a.m.
There wasn’t any traffic or even any stars, I noticed.
But with tearful eyes I stared ahead at the light, a beacon in a dark, dark world.
I reached the hospital as other Family Members began to trickle in.
Katie hadn’t arrived but her brother Cody had. He was talking with a doctor.
I stood in the dim hallway and leaned against the wall.
All I could hear were the sobs of family members, the dull hum of ventilators in the ICU, and the beating of my own heart.
What do you say to your best friend when she is making decisions about the life support her father is on?
What do you say to your best friend when, only hours after he was brought to the hospital, she decides to turn off the machines and let him slip away?
What do you say to your best friend when she has suddenly, and awfully, and unfairly lost both of her parents?
“I don’t know what to say,” I confessed as we embraced in the hospital.
“I don’t either.”
“Who is going to walk me down the aisle?” she cried to me in the waiting room.
“Or when I have babies. They are going to miss so much.”
I wish I was better at speaking.
Sometimes I think I’m a writer because I don’t know how to say how I feel out loud.
“I know,” I said to her.
It didn’t seem like a good answer. They are going to miss so much, the rest of her beautiful life. Her wedding day. The day she has her first baby. Her 23rd birthday.
“Why did this happen?” she asked me.
“I don’t know.”
I don’t know. I don’t know why two beautiful people died the way that they did.
I don’t know why their amazing children, only 24, 22, and 20 years old are now facing a life without them.
A life of births, weddings, graduations, and Christmas mornings, days that I know will be the hardest, days where the pain will take their breath away.
I believe in God.
I believe He makes all things work together for our good.
I believe and know that He is close to the brokenhearted, that perhaps we’re never nearest to Him than when we’re so completely broken.
Life changes in an instant.