Our friend and fellow growth group member, Terri, died Wednesday just after noon. I considered canceling our meeting Wednesday evening, but decided not to because I personally felt a need to be with other people who also loved and miss her. Apparently, others in our group had the same felt need. We did not continue in our study of James. We did not spend much time catching up with each other. Instead, we talked about our last interaction with Terri and planned how we will celebrate her life with a memorial service.

We prayed, read scripture and sang a song, but our meeting was not structured with an agenda like usual. Rather, it meandered. It felt more like a stream of consciousness than a typical meeting. Several of us wept. At least one of us expressed regret for missing opportunities to serve Terri as she neared the end. Others felt a deep sense of joy as we contemplated the freedom Terri is feeling now – walking, talking, singing. Because of the limitations caused by multiple-sclerosis, it somehow seems that her heavenly body will be even more appreciated.

I reminded our group that grief is a process. To some extent the stages of grief are predictable and it can be helpful to know what to expect and to be reminded that our experience is normal and healthy. But we did not study the stages of grief. Instead, we simply sat together.

Psalm 116 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. 16 O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains.