When Grief Stalks
Cinnamon coffeecake plunges high up my plastic fork while brown sugar topping flakes and tumbles from the top. Espresso grinders whir loud then fade to the music from overhead speakers. Three inch pink baby shoes glide by in a black stroller; purple sippy handles peak from a stroller’s corner. Wooden coffeehouse chairs scrape and clunk hollow, and I sip my hot refilled coffee from blue cardboard.
On a morning of Monday’s clean laundry piled high and an upcoming evening church softball game, we received word of a tragic car accident. A former youth group student and his family of five were killed in a multiple car pile-up involving a semi-truck. His family’s faces still grin happy in the missionary magnet on my fridge, just a month away from their departure to a new life in Japan.
My cell phone’s text message blinked the news, and it was too awful to believe or to speak aloud.
“What?” Mark kept asking me in my gaped silence, “What?!”
Our shock and grief looked like crying in Mark’s arms, my tears and nose running and wiped on his shirt unconsciously while we prayed. Grief looked like numb silence and staring slack-jawed out the window.
“What are you looking at?” Daniel wants to know, peering out the window too.
“Just thinking about our friends, bud,” I murmur, and we both fall silent.
Earlier, concerned by our tears and unsure how to respond, Daniel had fled the room.
Following him, I found him burrowing under his blankets in the dark
“We can be sad together. It’s okay to cry and to ask God hard questions.”
My words falter and fall short today. Typing a short message to my friends to mourn their son and his family, I tell them that we ache and cry with them.
Community is shared grief, shared silences, shared tears. And God’s chest is big enough for those hot tears and raw words too.