By Jacob Hatcher
What no one tells you about grief is that over time you get more and more used to the person being gone, and as the pain of their being gone subsides, the reality that life has gone on without them hurts almost as much as losing them.
Sitting in the fresh grief five years ago, I knew there would be times something would happen and muscle memory would move me to call her; it never occurred to me that there would come a day when doing such a thing wouldn’t cross my mind.
For the first year or so, I thought every time I heard Great Is Thy Faithfulness it would take me right back to that hospital bed, but eventually it slowly began to drift back into the hymnal with all the rest; it still reminds me of her, but it’s transformed back to its rightful place as a hopeful meditation on God’s provision instead of the funeral song I had made it into.
The kids being as young as they were, I knew that there would come a time when what they remember of her would mostly be things they hear us tell them about her, but I didn’t think their not remembering her would ever not break my heart.
The fact is, though, all of those things are true now. She’s been gone for five years now and to my surprise, life has gone on. As Reba McEntire once sang, “the world didn’t stop for my broken heart.” It just keeps spinning day in and day out.
They say time heals all wounds, but I’m not sure that’s exactly true. I think eventually you just get used to the pain enough that you’re able to forget about it for longer stretches of time. It’s sort of like that tweaked knee from high school football; it doesn’t hurt all the time, but if the weather’s just right and you sleep on it wrong, it’s going to ruin your day.
I’m sure this is how Mama would want it, us not letting grief rule our lives, and most days it doesn’t. But it sure has rained a lot this week.