All of life is loss.
All of life is grieving.
But these things are relative. The man with much to grieve has known something worth grieving for. The man who never held a diamond in his hand, only a mudpie, doesn’t feel his loss. He doesn’t know what it’s like to lose something precious.
My dad took all of us caroling on Christmas eve. He had bought fruit baskets for each person he planned to visit, most of them shut-in patients of his. The first person we visited was an elderly man, Mr. Thomas. Mr. Thomas was a short round man who greeted us at the door, along with his grandson Landen. We introduced ourselves and my dad led us in songs. During the second song, “We wish you a merry christmas,” my dad, out of nowhere, added a verse, “So bring us some figgie pudding, bring us some figgie pudding.” Landen snickered and looked at us like we were weird. But that’s okay. There are times when it’s cool to be weird.
My dad told us that Mr. Thomas’s wife had come down with cancer three years ago. “Ms. Dottie was a gem of a woman,” he said. “And Mr. Thomas stayed at the hospital with her the whole time.”
“Three times a day,” Mr. Thomas added.
But then the disease won. Mr. Thomas got teary-eyed at the mention. I’m sure if I asked him, “Would you change a thing?” he would say no without missing a breath. He loved a woman well. He served her well.
My dad loved his patients well. Her served them well. The real victims are not those who experience pain and loss; it’s those who hold diamonds in their hands and treat them like mudpies. Before they know it, the chance to love is snatched from them.
All of life is loss. All of life grieving. A favorite author of mine said, “Who would think one could love without being crushed under the weight of it?”