The above picture is of a grave marker designed by a grieving father in Utah. This photo has made the rounds on the internet for many years. Captions vary, but they all seem to include that the father created it to represent his paralyzed son reaching up to the sky from the wheelchair he spent his life in. It is said to represent that his son is finally “free from his earthly burdens.”
This image popped into my mind this afternoon as I walked into the church where my 10 year old sister-in-law’s viewing took place. My wife and her family were there before I arrived. I took Ella and Andrew to the baby sitter and joined them afterwards.
When I walked in, a video played with photos from Grace’s life. Her smile ever present. Instrumental Disney songs played along with the video. Grace loved Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
There was a beautiful blanket with her picture on it and “Always in Our Hearts” written in a Disney font off to the side. Surrounding her was a stuffed Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, and Goofy.
I once again remembered the image above. Grace is free from her earthly burdens. No more wheelchair, no more feeding tube, no more pain, and no more suffering. I personally believe, based on my knowledge of Scripture, that she is feeling a joy that none of us has ever experienced. She is walking, talking, and singing. What a wonderful thing to know.
As with any death, it is hardest on those who are left behind. There is a void. There is the adjustment that has to be made to their being absent from our lives. There is the grieving process that has to happen for each one of us (and every one will grieve differently). It will not be easy.
My heart sank as I read a Facebook post from my father-in-law the other day: “This morning was so different. Normally Pam starts Grace’s breathing treatments while I make my coffee, then Pam gets Grace’s meds made up while I finish her treatments. Drinking coffee with no Grace brought tears to my eyes then I remembered her body has been restored and she doesn’t need treatments anymore that made me smile. Pam and I are trying to adjust to our new normal. Thanks for all the phone calls texts visits and prayers.”
The “new normal” isn’t normal at all. There will be many adjustments and life goes on for the rest of us and there will be many emotional hurdles to get over in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.
Grace’s memorial service will take place at noon Wednesday. I would appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts for my wife, her parents, and our family. It is going to be a very hard day.