There are a lot of things you’re not directly taught as you’re growing up.
How to forgive.
How to make friends.
How to love well.
And now, this. How to mourn.
Recently a guidance counselor at my former high school passed away after having had cancer for many years. I knew her from when I was in school, having been in a group of peer listeners that she trained and oversaw. After high school, I had the privilege of babysitting her daughter a handful of times.
I can’t say I knew her overly well, but what I did know was wonderful. She was kind and welcoming, funny and smart. When I went to their house to babysit, I could almost tangibly feel the love it was saturated in. This was not just a structure to keep them safe from the elements; she and her husband and their daughter enjoyed a home there.
And now she is gone.
I am blessed in that no one I am incredibly close to has passed away in my lifetime, though I know at some point that will change. My own experience is not adequate to help me imagine the depths of pain her family and close friends are going through.
And there are others like me, who knew her somewhat, who experience a sense of loss as well.
And truthfully, I don’t know what to do with it.
This is not the first time someone I know has passed away, and every time, I don’t quite know what to do.
She is certainly a woman worth mourning.
But as someone who didn’t know her all that well, wasn’t even in regular contact with her, how do I do that?
How do we mourn anyone we didn’t really know all that well?
What does mourning look like from the sidelines?
Today I am much more full of questions than of answers.
I leave you with these words her obituary. They are beautiful, and fitting for many.
There were no platitudes or schmaltz in her faith, just the recognition that much of life is sheer mystery and so is God—but He can be trusted. She knew his love for her through Christ and found as well serendipitous expressions of His grace in the world and people around her.
“Don’t ever say that I lost my battle with cancer,” Tasha once said. And she didn’t. The gospel is true. The cancer is dead. Natasha lives. And we will see her again.
Til next time…
p.s. Any thoughts? How do you mourn someone you don’t know all that well? Also, you can read some of her story on her blog.