When I was a kid, I loved puzzles. I especially loved ones that had a lot of pieces like 1000 or even 5000. Those kinds of puzzles can’t be completed in a few hours. It takes several days and numerous hours to finish a puzzle like that. I remember setting up a puzzle on one of those square card tables and coming back to it over and over again and adding a piece here and there. It was inevitable that a piece would get lost every now and then when you are working on it for days. The table would get bumped and a piece would fall off the table and then accidently get kicked around. Sometimes, they would just disappear for no reason. I would spend so much time on the puzzle and get really invested in it. Then I would be so excited to be almost finished only to realize that all the pieces were gone and there was still a hole in the puzzle. I would turn the house upside down looking for the missing piece. Sometimes I would find it, but there were those times when it seemed to have vanished into thin air and it was never located. I hated the feeling of having a hole in the puzzle. It was incomplete, and it was hard for me to let it go. I couldn’t stop searching for that missing piece to make the puzzle whole again. Eventually, I would give up and move on to the next puzzle, but that one that was incomplete never quite went away. I often hung on to it in hopes of one day coming across the missing piece.
Loosing someone you love is kind of like loosing that puzzle piece. It leaves a hole in your heart. It is a piece that you will never get back, but it is one that you will always be searching for. You will always have that little hole there that you can’t fill. Your heart is now incomplete just like the puzzle. You may carry on and try to let it go, but you never stop searching for something to fill the hole. You don’t just forget about it. The days will come when you don’t live and breath the loss constantly, but you never know when that hole will open wide and remind you that it is still there. I shared with all of you that I lost my grandmother over the summer. It was very hard for me. I was suffocating under the grief at first. Now the hurt is getting better and I can breath. I don’t think about it every day anymore, but I know that the hole that her absence has left in my heart will always be there. This past Sunday that hole opened up wide again and reminded me that it was there. We go to a contemporary church where we sing contemporary music. We don’t sing hymns very often. My grandmother loved singing hymns. I can still hear her voice in my head singing at the top of her lungs at church even though it has been many years since I was in church with her. For that reason alone, hymns will always make me think of her. Our sermon at church on Sunday was about the importance of worshiping God through song and how doing so weaves God’s word into your heart. The pastor ended his sermon earlier than usual so that we could all participate in worshiping through song together. We sang several contemporary songs that were certainly helping to fill my cup. Then out of nowhere, the music changed. Within only a few notes, I knew what song they were playing. It was one of my all time favorite hymns, “How Great Thou Art.” Before any words could be sung, I was overcome with emotion. I was suddenly sobbing so hard that I couldn’t get any words out. I closed my eyes and just let the words wash over me. It wasn’t the band I heard singing the song. It was my grandmother. That hole in my heart was temporarily filled with her voice. While the pain was excruciating, it was also so beautiful at the same time.
Later that day, my husband shared with me that hymns also get to him. He lost his mother a few years ago and hymns make him think of his childhood and her. He asked me if I thought it was normal that things like that still get to him. While my loss is still fresh, his is a little more distant. That is what got me thinking about the whole puzzle analogy. I told him that I did think it was normal. That piece is still missing and it will never be found here on Earth. Only when we meet them again in heaven will our hearts be whole again. Yes, the hole may get smaller over the years, and it may scab over. I just don’t think it will ever truly heal and close up. It will always be open just a little, and you never know when something like a song or memory will open it wide again. It’s ok to feel sad and emotional from time to time. I really don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It just means that you care and you miss them deeply. We all love hard and, in turn, loose hard. It is an unfortunate part of life. Just like I did with those puzzles years ago that were incomplete due to a missing piece, I will put my grief on the shelf and move on; but I will never forget about it. It will come back out from time to time, and I will feel the loss deeply. However, I won’t let it break me because I know we will meet again one day.