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Today would have been my sister’s birthday. In 2011, she passed away from a brain tumor.

Life’s losses are hard and grief is something we all have to deal with sometime in life.

I haven’t written about her death before. Even after nine years I miss her terribly. No matter the circumstances, I knew my sister would always be there for me.

Having no husband or children, I was her care giver and it was an honor and privilege to serve her the last 3 years of her life. The support she received from my husband, children and grandchildren were precious to her and me. Thank you.

Because, I walked with her so closely during those three years, I had to deal with regrets, guilt, all the what ifs, as well as the grief from her death. So, the moments when those painful memories surface, and they still do occasionally, I roll them onto Jesus’ back, because he cares for me and shoulders my burdens, so that I can remember her sweet smile, her spirit of fun and her love for us, her family.

Here are a few things I have learned first-hand about grief.

Time does not heal. Death is a rift in how life was originally designed to be. However, it does allow for process. The grief process should take as long as it takes. You can’t rush someone through it. Time gives us space to envision our life without the lost one and helps us see the future with the void in it and prepares us for it.

And we should embrace that. I am reminded of Solomon’s’ wise words in Ecclesiastes. 3:1-8.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

A season is planned for every event in life. It was her time to die, and it was my time to weep and mourn. Later, I found a time to laugh, but my dancing is still coming along, because, although we mourn and move on, there is a loss and void left where they used to be. I don’t think that ever goes away. I don’t think God meant it to. Death is an ugly reminder to us of sin and its consequences.

There are now long periods of my life when I don’t think about my sister, but when something sparks a memory I am more apt to remember the good times and not the sorrow. She would be pleased.

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