This is a short story of how God helped me deal with the death of my best friend.
I was lucky. I had a best friend who loved life and enjoyed spending it with me. We were much alike in our interests, beliefs, and dreams. Every day was an adventure and we were so very happy.
Then, in the doctor’s office, the diagnosis came and those dreaded words: The cancer is terminal. He has only a few days to live.
I dropped to my knees in prayer. I was no stranger to God, having accepted Jesus as My Personal Savior when I was a young teenager. Ever since I have walked daily with Him.
Jim passed the next day. Instantly, I was consumed with grief. I sobbed and sobbed in between my babbled prayers to God. I cried, actually shrieked, throughout the day and into the night. When I still couldn’t sleep, I wandered around outside in the dark. I outstretched my arms and begged God to show me a sign, any sign, that my friend knew he was loved on this earth and that he was loved by me. Immediately, the dark night clouds opened for the sliver of the moon to shine. In this light, I could feel God’s comfort. This made me smile and it was sufficient enough to help me to finally fall asleep.
The next morning came and with it more sadness. I held my own prayer service outside in the wooded backyard as Jim loved the outdoors. I prayed, read some Bible scriptures, and sang his favorite hymns. And then I began to cry again uncontrollably and fell to the ground. I could not get up and did not know how I would go on with living. I talked and talked to God and told Him that I was just not strong and that I could not live a life without my friend. I was ready to give up; it was too, too hard. I continued to ask God for His wisdom because I had nothing left and I did not know what to do. Then instantly, the nearby bushes rustled loudly and a large owl flew out and up and away. It was mid-morning on a sunny day and an owl, which I have never seen in the backyard prior to this time nor after, had awakened and appeared. At this moment, I could feel God’s comfort. God would be by my side giving me the wisdom I sought.
Dealing with this grief was without a doubt the most difficult thing I have ever had to do in my life. I missed Jim all the time. Everywhere I looked, I was reminded of him. He was in my thoughts all day and in my dreams all night. I missed the wild adventures, the long talks about our dreams, the belly-aching laughter. I missed his twinkling eyes and his big grin and how he held me in his strong arms. I missed his love, his unconditional love. When I closed my eyes, I could hear him and see him and feel him. But when I opened my eyes, I would cry again.
But soon, God would remind me of this love. Believe it or not, it was Valentine’s Day. I had left work to have lunch at home like I routinely did every work day. When I pulled up in the driveway and got out of my car, I looked up in the light blue, sunny sky. That day, I thought the sky was the exact color of Jim’s eyes. Then I noticed that there was a white-shaped heart, a really big one right over my house. And as I stared into the sky, I saw that these were really birds who had flown into the shape of a heart. I gazed for a long time until the graceful, slender doves flew away one by one. I could feel God’s comfort. God loved me and through God’s love, Jim was able to love me, and I love him in return whether here on Earth or even if we were apart.
If there is one thing that I have learned through this experience of my friend Jim dying and that I want to share with you, it is that God is always there to comfort. God has truly comforted me as I have gained the strength and the wisdom to deal with grief. I was given a beautiful gift when I was given my friends’ friendship. I am left with so many precious memories. And my dearest friend has played a significant role in shaping the person I am today.
Today, nearly six years later, I am much stronger. I am much wiser. And I am much loved.