Reverend Dennis Harth, The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital's Pastoral Care Manager, delivered these words of comfort and refection at the hospital's 2016 Patient Remembrance Service on Wednesday 30 November 2016:
Psalm 23 (NIV)
John 14:1-6, 27 (NIV)
In the recent ‘Survivor’ series, many of the challenges were based on endurance, which needs two things: the ability to hang on, and the inevitability that you have to let go. Of course, you win if you are the last to let go!
Release is like the lifting of a burden, and mostly that is a good feeling – a relief that you no longer have to carry the load. But there is also a great sadness – a sense of guilt, or of loss.
That is why we suffer at the loss of a loved one, and we enter into the mystery of grief, that can be a burden to carry, but also an anchor to hold us in place.
As you mourn the loss of your loved one, you may feel like your life carries many burdens. There are memories, emotions, and always a sense of incompleteness – things that should have happened just haven’t been done.
But your grief journey holds you in place – we are here to remember, and give thanks – that’s what grief does, it brings perspective and eventually leads to acceptance.
Everyone grieves in different ways – it never disappears. An ember still smoulders deep inside. Most days you don’t notice it, but out of the blue, the embers can flare to life.
Don’t let the raging fire of grief and loss engulf you completely. The ember deep within you can be a sense of warmth in all the cold places.
Grief is an ongoing process of adaptation and change.
A man by the name of Robert Anderson, many years after the tragic and sudden loss of his wife, wrote:
“Death ends a life, but it doesn’t end a relationship.
And so I struggle on towards some resolution of grief that
I know will never be found”.
Years afterwards, this man still feels the deep pain of grief – it just won’t go away. But you can still let go of the burden. In this journey of loss, do not be afraid. There are some things that will never be resolved or sorted out, or brought to a satisfactory end – that is how it is.
What is most important is that you find your way through life, with grief as your companion, but also with many dreams, goals and wonderful achievements ahead of you. This is release. This is letting go, and moving forward.
May you find comfort from this time of remembering today.