Sunday, December 14, 2014

Guest Post: Hope in the Midst of Loss

Dear Beautiful Friends,

There are many amongst us who will not see the faces of dear loved ones this Christmas. Gone from our lives through death or separation, hearts will feel the ache ... and chairs will remain empty as families gather around the Christmas dinner table. 

It's now eleven years since my own dear dad left this earth for heaven ... it was just days before Christmas when he slipped away. We miss him still but now it's without that hurting, aching, searing throb of pain of that first Christmas when nothing felt right. Now we think of him with joy and happy remembering that one day we shall be together again where God dwells.

Today I am so pleased to welcome my dear sister, Janet, as my Guest Blogger. She shares from her heart thoughts as she remembers the loss of loved ones in her own life.

  Hope in the Midst of Loss
by Janet Warkentin

Christmas joy is tempered by a touch of sadness for me. My dad died December 15, 2003 and my father-in-law in early February, 2005, and they are especially missed around this time. I’m not depressed or even melancholy, just wistful for times past.

This year when my husband's family gathers with us around the Christmas table, another dear face will be missing... our bright and beautiful sister-in-law. Perhaps that's why an essay I wrote a few months after my dad’s death seems especially poignant this year. I would like to share it with you....

“I GLIMPSED MY DAD in the grocery store the other day. Rationally speaking, I knew it could not be him – he’s passed away. But from the back -- red jacket, height, strong build – it could have been Dad. I turned to look again, but he was gone, and part of me wanted to run to every aisle to find him.

I’ve seen “my dad” a few times since he’s been gone. The first time was about two months after the funeral. There he was, sitting in a chair in a hotel lobby. Strawberry blond hair, gray and brown reading glasses, weathered hands, a quiet manner. I had to stare. I forced myself to look away when the man turned his face toward me – I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the face was not my father’s. My dad looked more gentle, with smile lines at his eyes. And yet, I had to look and look again. He was not my dad, but I wanted to drink in the similar features just the same.

I have Dad’s picture sitting beside my kitchen sink -- a beautiful picture that epitomizes my dad: handsome, dressed in a red (his favorite color) shirt, smiling, a definite twinkle in his eye – a witty line waiting to be said. Dad was extremely quiet and shy, at times almost debilitating so. He didn’t tell a lot of jokes, or talk a lot. But every once in a while his quiet nature would step aside and we’d see who he was deep down. He’d expound on some Biblical principle he’d studied, and we’d be amazed at the passion and knowledge bubbling up like a fountain. Or he’d tell a funny tale that had himself and everyone around belly laughing long before the punch line. That picture tells so much of who Dad was, the real Dennis that many didn’t see.

The last few months of Dad’s life were incredibly hard on him, on Mom, on us all. The physical and mental changes brought on by the cancer and the medication were agony for us to watch. The pain and gradual loss of independence that Dad lived through were agony for him to bear. But prayers answered by a merciful God meant that the last few weeks of his life were less painful and his mind clearer. At times Dad somehow seemed freer and words came easier. Opinions and endearments were spoken more readily; visitors even commented on his great conversations!

In those last few weeks, I think we caught a glimpse of who Dad was going to be ‘on the other side’.” ....

On the other side… Because of the very first Christmas when the Son of God became a baby, destined to die and live again as Saviour of the world, I know I will someday see my dad whose hands gave so freely, my dad-in-law whose hug welcomed me “home” the very first time I met him, and now my sister-in-law Connie whose generous heart (and bottomless bag filled with treasures) will be especially missed this first Christmas without her. Their faith in God was real.

On this side… This Christmas I will see glimpses of Dad in my son who has his Grandpa’s looks and sense of humour -- I think those two would have had great fun watching Youtube fails together! I will see my dad-in-law in my husband, who resembles his dad in character, if not looks -- generous, patient, protective of his family – and only slight less apt to save bits of this and that for possible future use. And I will see my sister (in-law) in her mother, sisters, daughters and nieces: they are all loving, creative, generous…and feisty!

So as I pine a bit for yesterday, missing people who are so dear to my heart, I also look forward to the everlasting tomorrow when I will see their faces again. And as so many pray in this Advent season, I join with them: ‘Even so Lord Jesus, come. I wait for you.'

Janet is an avid reader and very occasional writer, with stories and thoughts in mind to be written someday. For now she is a happy wife and mother of two older teens, herder of a dog and several cats, and joyous beholder of every bit of wildlife that roams over her family's foothills acreage.


  1. So very touching...beautifully expressed...

  2. Oh, Janet, this is so special. I know what you say about being wistful for times past as we miss our dad and our other loved ones.

    And I join with you in saying, Even so, come Lord Jesus, we wait for You.


    PS And thanks so much being a Guest Blogger today.


  3. What wonderful thoughts you have shared it brought tears to my eyes, and missing dad right now

  4. What a beautiful and poignant but happy reflection, Janet. This gives me pause to reflect on my loving parents who have passed to a better life. God knew when it was the right time to release them from their suffering--Dad from Alzheimer's and Mom from worsening physical disabilities. Thank you for your thoughts, Janet, and Brenda from passing them on.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo