How do you say a final goodbye to a loved one who you are not allowed to be with?
Facing this question in April was not something I was prepared to do. My sister had been fighting terminal cancer for four years. I knew someday I would be faced with saying goodbye. Most often when cancer patients start to decline, the family knows it’s time. Families gather, hold hands and each other, shed tears, read Scripture, speak from the heart and stay close. COVID-19 snatched that opportunity away from me—and my family.
My mind raced with questions. Why now? Why in this way? Questions are normal. They are our human response in making sense of things and understanding them. With the current quarantines, people across the world are grieving the loss of many things, but I believe the loss of loved ones has become much more difficult, leaving people to ask, “Why couldn’t we be together? Why did they have to be alone? Why do we have to grieve our loss without loved ones and friends surrounding us?” Grieving this way may be harder to heal from loss because of the isolation, but in time, people still can heal.
Where can I find that peace and healing? I have found strength in the blessing found in Deuteronomy 33:12, “The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” When I read this verse, I couldn’t help but ask the question, what’s between my shoulders? The answer I kept coming up with was my heart. Through this time of loss, I gained strength in the fact that because I have built my foundation on Christ, He dwells in me and is near to my broken heart. He’s dwelling between my shoulders when I need Him the most. His Word ministers to my soul and I feel His presence in my life.
How wonderful to be reminded that when we have built our foundation on our Father, He is protecting us in our trials. He protects our hearts and our minds from the anger and resentment that tries to find a place to grow. His Word answers all questions, and the ones that may not seem to be clearly answered now will be someday, when I meet Him face to face.
So, when that final call was made, I told my sister that it was not goodbye, but only goodbye for now. We will be together again someday when we can hug, and my tears will also be wiped away.
Carol (Nelson) Rosgaard [FLBC, 1992] is a member of Abiding Savior Free Lutheran, Sioux Falls, S.D. Her sister, Randi (Nelson) Unverzagt [FLBC, 1985], of Eden Prairie, Minn., passed away in April during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Kinship is a magazine of the FLBCS. Stay up to date on the latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the FLBC and FLS campus.
View the latest edition of Kinship here: Kinship Spring 2020 Edition