Friends who are closer than a brother are priceless

by Greg Lincoln

Friends, talking with you and sharing our feelings has helped us so much these past weeks. We have been tested and tried and in our weakness, you have been our strength along with your prayers and the grace of our dear Lord. Thank you for your continued prayers and concern for our well-being.

We wanted to talk about what it feels like to have to lay a beloved to rest. In the days leading up to the service we were surrounded by loved ones and friends, some who traveled vast distances to be with us. You shored us up because we were like a sagging house that was unable to stand on its own. Thank you for coming, even at great cost, to share in our grief and to honor us with your presence and to give us your time and love.

For countless hours you stood in steadfast vigil next to us as we spent every waking moment with our loved one as she laid in sweet repose. Our eyes never strayed from her beautiful peacefulness as we loved her with our tears as we told her how much we cherish and miss her and how we will always love her and how we could not wait to be with her again. We held her hands and kissed her precious face and whispered her name over and over, telling her how we long to hold her once more and to fill our empty arms with her again.

You, dearest friends, were with us through that endless night as the dark hours slowly passed, never leaving our side as we watched over our precious beloved. We sang songs and prayed for her together, songs of faith and hope and of God’s grace. We could not bear to leave her presence knowing those were the last moments that we would have with her on this present earth. What a wonderful priceless gift you gave us, you, soldiers of resolute mind standing guard over us through our most heartbreaking and saddest moments. Thank you for being with us, if you had not been there we would have been so lonely.

When we talk about such a sensitive issue as this, our words have been chosen carefully.

When you are a guest and travel to another community to attend your family member’s funeral, it is up to you not to do anything that would be harmful to yourself or to others. After all, the reason you come is to show love and to offer your help – not the opposite. The bereaved are easily hurt, even by the minutest, slightest, tiniest, littlest thing. They are deeply injured – remember their heart? It has been ripped out of their body, squeezed into a lifeless pulp, cut and torn, bleeding. They are in no shape to deal with extra problems that are caused by your thoughtlessness. You need to be at your best, not your worst.

So, when you come to Bethel or to any other place for such a time as what we suffered through, it is best not to be selfish – this means refraining from any kind of substance abuse. This selfish thoughtlessness leads to many unpleasant things that we don’t really want to list here. It just makes the whole thing more sadder and harder to bear. Why heap abuses, for that is what it is, on someone who is already badly hurt? What if something happened to you? We cannot bear another tragedy or loss so soon because you are dear to us, we love you so much. It does not make sense, don’t be selfish. Don’t be thoughtless.

We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We are thankful for you, we will never ever forget your prayers and hugs, your gifts, your smiles and greetings, and your kindest words of comfort. Quyana for your emails and texts as we continue on our journey of continual healing. Please remember those who are grieving, thank you, quyana.