After several days with more relatives than I could hope to catch up with, today was reduced to my parents, my brother Dave, and I. We all did some work in an attempt to return to normalcy. But I think each one of us had a moment or two when we noticed something (or rather someone) missing.
How lonely sits the city
that was full of people!
How like a widow has she become,
she who was great among the nations!
She who was a princess among the provinces
has become a slave.
(Lamentations 1:1 ESV)
I’m not sure what else to write about in the grieving process. There are more stories of Bob and a few more moments of “institutional mourning” as Dave astutely calls them. But I miss my wife and children. I’m ready to go home, but I don’t want to leave my parents alone. I bought a return ticket for next week, but I doubt the timing will be good no matter how long I delayed. We are in the long-haul of grief.
The story of Joseph (the last chunk of Genesis) keeps surfacing in my memory. None of us were quite so jealous of Bob and I know that my parents’ grief will not exclude love and compassion for the remaining sons. However, there’s something missing in the house and it will take far too long to work out what God intended from the loss. Future reunions do little to ease current suffering. Perhaps the trial of faith will result in even greater joy, but at the moment we can hardly hope.
There’s even a measure of guilt from going back to regular, pedestrian tasks as if we deny Bob’s very existence. Some of us have commented that at times the fourth brother seems almost like a dream we all shared. But there is the train set he never quite put back together and the papers he didn’t have a chance to sort and the medicine he was scheduled to be taking today. All of these things will slowly disappear or scatter. Will Bob’s memory do the same?