Many of you know by now that we recently lost a daughter. The days and weeks that have passed since then are a blur and we struggle to remember every moment. Some moments we don’t want to remember, others keep coming back uninvited.
Throughout this most dreadful time in our family there has been something that has really stood out – to us and to those who have been on this journey with us. And that is the value of community, and in particular, our church community.
As we sat stunned, trying to process in our minds the reality that we were no longer going to see our beautiful Miriam, our church was in constant contact, different people each day, providing us with cooked meals, ringing or dropping in and checking on us, just being there to talk to, or praying for us and with us. And there were many more in the background also praying for us. We later found out that our Pastor and the Pastor who did the funeral service were in daily contact, although our Pastor was away in another state. Everyone was working towards helping us. I dread to think how families cope that don’t have others to turn to at a time like this. We’ve found it very hard all the same.
When I’m going through a difficult time a part of me seems to separate and processes things – it’s almost like I’m two people – one watching the other go through this process. Perhaps it’s my way of handling the pain during this time of trauma. At any rate it meant I was able to take in the activity of our local community rallying around to help us, and at the same time, the responses and watchfulness of family members and close friends who were also present. Some of these people I know don’t have such a group of people to rally round them at times of tragedy and I felt for them as I could see their faces taking in all of what was happening.
If you are someone who is alone or perhaps an isolated family, take the time to connect with others around you before you have a need. When we shifted to Melbourne from Adelaide we had no other family members here and so we connected with a church fairly quickly so we had back up support for our children’s care, friends to spend time with, people to share with. We’re now in our 3rd church since shifting here late 1991 but the need for community has not lessened, although our children are now grown, and such an event in our family is evidence that a need like this can be unexpected but needed all the same. I pray, and hope, as you read this, that you do have people you know you can depend on, but if not, I encourage you to reach out and find others you can connect with so you can support them in their time of need and they you.