Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about friendship – Hold You Up. I talked about Aaron and Hur in Exodus, holding up the hands of Moses when he grew tired, and went on to write about my own friendships, my own desire to be an Aaron or Hur for others, and calling for the Aarons and Hurs of the world to step forward and be counted. In the days that followed, whether my friends knew it or not, whether they had read my blog post or not, I experienced deeper than I ever have before what it means to have an Aaron or Hur holding you up.
Now, I’m not suggesting that it was my blog post that sparked that. Not at all. If anything, my writing slightly pre-empted and foreshadowed what was about to happen in my own personal life and made me all the more aware and grateful for the love, care and support I would receive in the time that followed.
When I hit the publish button on Friday 25th May, little did I know what the next 24 hours, and the subsequent days and weeks, would hold. The early hours of Saturday 26th May were some of the most difficult I have ever had to face. In the early hours of Saturday 26th May 2018, my Grandad suddenly passed away. He hadn’t been ill. He hadn’t been sick. There was no warning. He was taken into hospital on the Friday night, and by the Saturday morning, he had left us.
I had experienced grief before, but this feeling was not like anything I had felt before. I felt like my heart had been ripped out. Even as I write now, I still can’t believe the events of the last two weeks. Grandad had been fine. I had seen him on the Friday. He had dropped me off to the tram stop for work that evening. We had talked. Everything seemed normal. It was 5.15pm when Grandad dropped me off. And just 12 hours later, at 5.15am, I was in a hospital, holding the hand of the Grandad I loved so dearly as he lay there lifeless before me. I was numb. And I was mentally kicking myself.
When he’d dropped me of, I’d kissed him on the cheek, said goodbye, but we both rushed – I rushed to make sure I got my tram to work, and Grandad rushed to get home. I wish we hadn’t. If I had known that would be the last time I’d see him. The last time that we’d talk. If I had known that as I said goodbye to him that night that I’d be saying goodbye to him for good, then I would have held on to every second that I could. If I’d have known that as he drove away from the tram stop that day that he was also, in a sense, driving out of my life, then I’d have stood and watched the car disappear in the distance.
But, we have no way of knowing. There’s absolutely no way that we can know these things. We just have to make sure that we savour every moment we can and make the most of the time we have with those we love most. Leave no kind word unsaid, no hug not given, and no love not shared. Because we don’t know when our final moments will be. And even though I wish we’d had more time, I am fortunate to have no regret about words not said or love not shown toward him – if anything, I told him too much. And for that, I am glad.
However, when the unexpected happens, when the world as you know it comes crashing down and changes forever, the Aarons and the Hurs in your life become recognised. The outpouring of love that I experienced, and still am experiencing, in the aftermath of losing my Grandad truly has held me up. The kind words, the comforting hugs, the willingness to just be there and listen (whether in person, through emails, or through FaceTime), has meant so much and has been a light during a very sad and devasting two weeks.
As I mentioned in my post Warriors Not Worriers, my verse for this year has been Proverbs 27:1:
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring”.
These words were already very real to me, often providing a source of hope. But on Saturday 26th May, these verses hit closer to home than they ever had before. They now carry more weight. We are not promised a tomorrow. We are not even promised that we’ll make it to the end of the day. We don’t know when our time will be up. The Bible says:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:13-14, ESV).
Please, I urge you, make the most of the time that you have. Make the most of the time that your loved ones have. Don’t leave yourself with regrets. Don’t leave yourself with any doubts as to whether you loved enough. And, more than that, I urge you, if you haven’t already – please get right with God. When tomorrow doesn’t come – where will you be? The Bible says:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).
My Grandad was graciously given time, even in the suddenness of his death, to get right with God before he died. Don’t leave it until the last moment to settle the matter of your soul and eternity. Please, don’t wait.