Actually, the news wasn’t bad… it was awful. And shocking. My brother-in-law had taken ill and was on the edge of death within 2 days when I put my husband on a plane headed for Providence. It was hard to take in the idea that he might not make it in time to say goodbye.
And he didn’t. The good news was that there would not be a long battle for life. The bad news was the truth that he was gone. And every one of us who knew him and loved him was left to wonder how we would navigate a world without his laugh, his encouragement, his counsel, his teasing… his presence.
The good news was that my church folk knew I needed to go, even though I had just missed worship last week to lead a retreat. And a RevGal who lived close by stepped up to offer to cover as soon as I asked for prayers. The bad news was that I needed to be ready to be wife and sister-in-law and pastor-presiding-over-the-service all at once.
The good news is that the service went well. It was the first time my by-marriage family has seen me being a minister. And for many of them, the first time a minister did a service that wasn’t just “by the book”. It was hard, but important, for me to be able to honor his life and our relationship by presiding. And it was hard to do so in a way that was unabashedly Christian without preaching (per the family’s wishes).
The bad news is that I still have grieving to do and big emotions to feel… and it will be way too easy for me to set them aside to get back to work when I get home tonight.
Perhaps the best of the good news (and yes, I have buried the lede) is that we got to spend a good 36 or so hours with the kid. Beautiful, hope-filled hours, filled with conversations about all manner of things. The kind of ranging conversations I have missed something awful. We shared a few moments of sorrow and laughter that I will treasure until the next time we can be together in person. And I will replay those goodbye hugs as many times as it takes to embed them in my memory at the cellular level.