Grief is such a nebulous term.

Some people ascribe it to everything in their life – grief over losing their job, grief over childhood bullying, grief over a chronic illness, and grief over loss of an identity. It is often used to write off anger. While these are all valid uses of the term grief, none of these are what this post is about.

As a minister’s daughter, grief is an old companion of mine. My dad serves a small congregation and naturally, when someone passed, my family was all hands on deck to try to serve the family of the person. Sometimes things blew up in our faces, and we were met with anger. To this day my father is haunted by the times he could not fully serve those around him, and works diligently for each next time someone will, inevitably, leave us.

This past week there was a death in the congregation. I am not taking it well, my sister is not taking it well, my parents are not taking it well at all. It is especially hard for me this time, because I cannot attend and serve at the funeral. Yes, today I baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to be delivered to the church. However I don’t have a car, and I managed to get an appointment with a research neurologist downtown, over an hour and a half away from my residence, a month ago. My  mother does not want me to miss the appointment. Today we cooked for the grieving family so mom could drive me downtown, and we will both miss saying our goodbyes and not help my father.

Oftentimes when I was a child, I would wake up at night to a black room. Maybe this does not sound odd to most of my readers, but I slept with a nightlight on. I could not see anything but the silver outline of a person. As an adult whenever I was told a person passed and their funeral was to be held at my father’s church, I would see such an image while walking to the bathroom around midnight. I like to call this my own way of grieving.

Sometimes I wonder if holidays like Día de Los Muertos have it right – introduce and embrace death young, so you know your dearly departed are not truly departed. Remove the shroud and mystery of death.

During this time I was asked to help sort pictures. As I did so, I was astounded by what a life this woman led, and how beautiful she was in all of the pictures. How even though time had passed, I could still pick her out in a photograph from years ago, and others in her family that I knew.

Anyways, dear Sister in Christ, you know who you are, and I miss you dearly. To your family, I can’t say any words. But please know the cookies I made were made with love.