The longest walk you’ll ever take is the walk away from the grave of someone you love. If you have never done that, then you can’t imagine how difficult it is.
Last Saturday, November 25th, I was at St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Niles, Illinois and I took that walk once again……away from the four graves of where my mother and father and my two older brothers are buried. Before I walked away, I stood there for the longest time. My mother died in 1961 at the age of 52 when I was a senior in high school. My dad died 30 years later. My two older brothers died in 2004 and 2022.
I’m the last family member still alive and standing. Eighty years of memories with each of them flooded into my mind and heart. After a while I stopped counting all the “I’m so sorry’s” as I went to confession to each of them and begged their forgiveness for the many times I hurt them. I kept telling each one of them how much I loved them despite the years they have been gone.
The words of Jesus were ever on my mind as I looked down at my own grave marker embedded in the ground: 1943 Only one more year has to be etched on my grave stone and my family and I are all gone from this planet. “Unless a seed fall into the earth and die, it remains just a seed, but if it dies, it produces much fruit,” Jesus said.
Hopefully I can produce a little more fruit before that day comes. I prayed that my mom, dad and brothers are blooming in eternity and that our meeting again will wind up being an eternal celebration of Joy with our Heavenly Father who created our family, the Jesus who loved us so much that he died for us and the Holy Spirit who kept us on the right roads throughout our lives.
When I walked back to my car, I got in it and just sat there. I remembered the four times when I walked away after each of my family members was lowered into their graves…..
- To walk away and feel as if my world has come to an end.
- To walk away and think about what used to be and what might have been.
- To walk away and realize, “I’ll never be the same again.”
- To play over and over in my mind the good times, the laughter, the crazy stories.
- To reach out and touch a face or a shoulder and find it gone forever.
- To cry until I couldn’t cry anymore.
- To watch them bury my dreams and hopes and all that was good about our life together.
- To know it is over, done, finished, the end, and there is nothing I can do about it.
- To walk away to friends who cannot understand and to a world that hardly cares.
It is the longest walk and the saddest of days. Each time I made that walk I soon realized I not only had a lot more to do to give Glory to God, I had a lot more to become to give even more Glory to God.
Thanks to Ray Pritchard for sharing. Thanks to Rhodi Lopez for the picture.
Consider the longest walk YOU have made after the death of a loved one. What other things would YOU add to the above list? How did YOUR walk and what happened for years afterwards give Glory to God?
I DON’T REALIZE JESUS IS ALL I NEED, UNTIL JESUS IS ALL I HAVE!!!