Still Gone

By:  Staci Stallings

Some days I hardly think of the people I’ve lost at all.  Maybe that sounds hard-hearted, or something, but sometimes life in the present is so pressing that it’s all I can do to keep up.  Then other days, mostly fleeting moments, I remember.  And it’s just… weird.

Like this morning.  I took my kids to school.  One started a new school.  Two were going to old schools but new grades.  That’s always a little bittersweet anyway.  I mean how can my oldest be a freshman already?  How can my youngest be in second grade?

Anyway, I had just dropped the last one off when around the corner came my brother’s old pickup.  His brother-in-law bought it after my brother’s death, and since that brother-in-law lives in my town and goes to my church, every so often I will see it driving around.  That’s always a little surreal because it is a distinctive pickup.  I mean, I can tell it’s that pickup from virtually any angle at one glance.

As I dropped my youngest off, here comes that pickup around the corner.

That feeling is so strange because for one split second I think… and then I remember, and it all comes rushing back.

After dropping youngest off, I pulled out into traffic and headed home, alone for the first time in three months.  As I drove, I thought about what I could do today.  So many things I haven’t been able to do because someone else was on the computer or in the living room, or making messes behind whatever I’d just cleaned.  And I thought, “I need to email Dennis and catch up.”

About that same moment, I drove up next to my brother’s pickup in traffic just as on the radio came “Praise You in This Storm” which happened to come out the same time my church burned down and I lost my brother.

The weird thing is, all I could think was, “They are still gone.”

I mean so many things have happened since they left, things they would have rejoiced over, things they would have helped carry me through.  But no matter how long ago it was, no matter what new things happen… they are still gone.

After my brother’s death, I read one time on a blog someone wrote, “Life goes on, but death does too.”  I understood at the time, and I think I understand even better as time goes on.  It’s been a year since my brother-in-law’s death, three months since Dennis has been gone, and 3 1/2 years since my brother’s been gone.  And weirdly enough, I think there will always be moments when for a split second I will feel like they are still here.

And then I will remember again that they are still gone.

I’m just grateful for my faith, so I know they are not “gone” forever.  They are with Jesus and one day I will see them again.

It’s just that some days the reminders that they are there and not here are really hard to take.

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