A year ago on this day, we received a phone call telling us that our 2-year-old granddaughter was being airlifted to the Mayo Clinic after a tragic accident. She later died. If you want more details about the events, I wrote about that experience here.
But, as anyone who has experienced any kind of loss knows, the grief isn't done when the events are over. Not by a long shot! Any time a "memory" of Raelyn pops up on Facebook, tears fill my eyes. Whenever we talk about Disney World (we were there at the time of her death), a veil of sadness covers the good memories. Her birthday. Christmas without her. And just random waves of sadness.
Any of these things can trigger the grief. You never "get over it." I'm sure most of you know this truth. Today I am living in the season of Raelyn's death, and memories of her keep coming to me...
Into this sadness come the quotidian events of this day: brushing teeth, going for a walk, having school, playing with friends... Each one has connections to grief. But when my daily Bible devotional said "Give thanks in all things," I rebelled. I couldn't imagine begin able to give thanks for the death of our sweet granddaughter!
I've prayed often today. I've tried to wrap my brain and heart around "Give thanks in all things" and finally I realized...
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances," not "Give thanks for all circumstances."
So, I'm not expected to give thanks for Raelyn's death, I'm supposed to give thanks even though Raelyn died.
And I can do that. I am thankful that she was in our lives. She was funny, sweet, loving, sassy, and adorable. She was well-loved. Her organ donation saved at least two lives. Her family seems to be holding together and living well, even after her death.
And even though I'm sad today, I am thankful for my life, my family, the beautiful place we live, my friends... I am thankful for the faith that God has graciously given to me. And I am grateful to know that Rae is with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.