It may seem a strange thing to relate that when my legendary grandfather died in my sixth year, when my relatively close cousin died shortly before and when my grandmother died after I'd reached adulthood, I never shed a tear. The fact was that their spiritual life forces stayed with me so strongly that I have never felt them to be dead. Indeed, some years ago I had an extraordinary dream about my dear late cousin Moses, and he told me to explain to the rest of the family that he was not dead. He was alive, had always been so, and wished the rest of the family understood that fact. He particularly wished his parents and our mutual uncle Benny to know this.
But other funerals have brought me to tears and I have known the anguish of finding myself swallowed in an overwhelming grief. My dear sister lost a wonderful father in law last week which is what draws my mind in this direction at the present time. My thoughts have been engaged in imagining how I would feel if persons in my life now breathing wafted into eternity. How would I react to my children dying? How would I respond to my living grandparents' deaths? And as I played through these situations in my mind there was one person particularly that I believe I would have a very difficult time releasing. Indeed, I can only imagine that I would stubbornly wrap my arms around this expiring person and defiantly declare that I was going with them. I tried to imagine how I would be able to cope with losing this person and I can only suppose that others would have to forcibly pry me off of their lifeless body. But what then? Unless God saw fit to take me at the same time I would have to somehow learn to place one foot in front of the other. What would I do with the rest of my mortal life?
I'll tell you. I would turn all that grief and anguish into determination. I would use that aching to be an influence of good in this world and make said loved one proud. I would be the person they would want me to be. I would grit my teeth and, knowing that they were watching, stand up and reach out, reach upward, and turn more and more to God. Indeed, I would know that they are not really dead. Death as we often describe it doesn't exist. It is a mere transition. That person would be learning and progressing in a manner outside this world; I would dedicate myself to learning and progressing as God directed while still in this world. When I meet that loved one on the other side of the mortal veil I will not see disappointment in their eyes. I will meet them gladly, knowing that I didn't waste the time we had apart. I would look forward always to the day that I could meet them again and our relationship could prove stronger than ever it was before because I hadn't thrown this probationary time away. I would use the initial grief I had to make a better person of myself so that when we met again I would be more worthy of the eternal friendship we would share.