Tuesday

Grief From the Sidelines

Here is a picture of me (left) with my friend Judy (right). Notice I am LAUGHING! Because Judy brings amazing joy to so many people. She is a visionary, dreamer -- but in the completely practical sense -- REALLY! She softly speaks words of great wisdom. And we all nod and say, "Another one of Judy's jewels..."

This is Judy's family. Aren't they beautiful? Judy's claim to fame is having babies in 3 different decades, then adopting a son when he was in his teens! Her precious Tom is back left with his hand on Cade (90's baby!) Johnny, the adopted son is next to Tom and then there is Johnny's gorgeous wife (y'all, she has the most amazing skin I have ever seen on a real person). Tom's mom, Billie, is next to Cade. Lori (70's baby!) is holding Macy (I guess that's Macy? That would make this pic a few years old). I guess that Lori's husband, Paul, took this picture, because he isn't in there! Then there's Judy with Ben (80's baby!)
Ben has been in medical school in Houston. Monday he went to the hospital with chest pains and a friend that he grew up with went with him. Tom, Judy, and Lori chartered a plane to go see to him. Before their plane landed in Houston, Ben had passed away.
Today, many of us went to the airport to meet Tom, Judy, and Lori when they flew back here. Thankfully, they have much family here in town and most of them were at the airport, as well. I'll be honest: it was awful. It was SO much pain in one place, so much raw grief. Just horrible. At the same time, it was beautiful. The plane was delayed about an hour because of bad weather, so for an hour, I watched the faces of church family love, cry, and laugh as we gathered around. And they were so amazingly beautiful. And then we wept and cried and held and hugged as we helped all of the family gather together and share their pain.
Women are funny: we must DO when something happens. We must bake, clean, organize, and tend to. We know in our hearts it won't take away anyones pain, but we simply must DO. Probably for selfish reasons -- we want to feel of use, to help, I don't know. So many of us DID and shopped and got ice and cleaned (Judy's house didn't need it, but we pretended) and fed the dogs. And then we cried. A lot. And we aren't finished. Actually, I don't think we've gotten warmed up well.
Grief from the sidelines is tough. May the Lord guide my mouth away from those ridiculous words searching for reason or goodness from awfulness, and may I simply proclaim my love and desire to do what I can. And may I be there.
Ben was a precious gentle spirit, who was planning to fly-fish across Texas. I think he's got a much bigger pond to fish in now.

9 comments:

Susan said...

As usual. You stated it much better than I could, my sister friend. Thank you for communicating what I could not today.

Allison Connor said...

Your words are so true. Thank you for sharing in this time with me today. I enjoyed being with you and holding our dear friends as they are grieving

Biddy said...

i heard about ben this afternoon. that is heart-wrenching...i just cannot imagine...

Roxanne said...

I cannot imagine the pain and the loss. What a beautiful tribute to your friend and to the hands that serve in whatever way they can when tragedies like this strike.

And you KNOW that if Ben IS fishing, Daddy is right there with him. They are discussing YOU. :)

John Dobbs said...

May God's tender mercies be on this family in their crushing hour of grief. And upon those who love them.

Lindi said...

Thank you for sharing those beautiful photographs of their precious family. Thank you for the beautiful words you said and for going out and doing. God is truly working through you. I will pray for the entire Allen family and everyone else who is holding their hand today and all the days to come.

not-so-deep Denise said...

I've been thinking of how much Ben loved his mama. He seemed to be w/her or near her alot.

They're next to each other in the picture......

Paula said...

Sudden, unexpected death is one of those experiences that is hard to imagine until you go through it. When we have experienced it in our family, I found that those who were near, but quiet or simply said I love you or listened while you talked and cried were the ones who I wanted around. Stay near. Your friend will need it. One more thing. Pray constantly for the family, then let them know that you are doing so. Father God will heal their hearts over time.

Pamelotta said...

This is really weird. I was looking for a recipe for dessert nachos and it led me to the Recipe Swap blog which led me here. I saw the pictures of your friend Ben and I realized that I read his obituary in the Reporter-News this past weekend.

I didn't know him, but the reason I recognized him was because he had the longest obituary I have ever seen. I thought to myself, this guy must have been extremely special to have had so many good things said about someone so young.

I'm so sorry for the loss you're going through right now. Know that someone in Clyde is praying for his family.

 
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