The Sting of Goodbye

The Sting of Goodbye

Feb 07, 2023

I wrote a poem several months ago for one of my girlfriends whose husband had transitioned to heaven. I now dedicate this to anyone else who needs a little spark of light in the dark aftermath of a loved one's departure from this earthly realm.

It's for when the social media condolences have stopped; the duties of planning the homegoing and making decisions about the final resting place have ended; and there are no more ceremonies to attend (for most, it's the wake-funeral-repast). It's for when the cards, plants, and flowers are no longer arriving; emails, phone calls, and text messages have turned back to other subjects; and it's business as usual for the rest of the world. That's what this encouragement is for...

When there are no more embraces
or casserole dishes,
No more familiar faces
or sympathy wishes,
When life goes on fast
but for you stays frozen,
That's when those care you must cast,
as you are God's chosen.

This scripture comes to my mind from 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 because it uses the word "sting." It reflects on the victory over death that believers have through their faith in Christ Jesus.

The phrase "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" implies a rhetorical question, suggesting that death and the grave have lost their power, their sting, against us. Christ triumphed over death and the grave through his resurrection, so believers are supposed to know that their deceased loved ones are not dead, just experiencing eternal life. Their spirits are very much alive and WITH US AT ALL TIMES.

But while the idea of death may have no sting, make no mistake, there is a MAJOR STING occurring in our hearts when a loved one suddenly departs from our presence. I discovered that it's the sting of DEPARTURE, not death that is causing us so much pain and that's okay. When someone departs from us, even through a divorce or a broken relationship, you naturally miss them.

It's the I miss their face, voice, and complaining sting. It's I miss their support, laughs, and crazy jokes sting. It's the I miss them sitting at the table, going on vacations, coming home from work sting. It's because I miss their unsolicited advice, good driving, and loud snoring sting. It's the I miss their love for me whether they said it or not sting.
There are no two stings alike. You're not allowed to compare the depth or length of your sting against others'. And don't you dare judge internally that a sting you have over one person's departure may be lesser than a sting over someone else's?

I believe that as long as our lungs pump and our hearts beat, that sting will be present. It fades, of course, but is forever present.

And that is a very human thing.