Imagine you’re at a park, playing on the swings, the slides, in the sand, and there’s a bunch of other people at the park as well. Maybe you’re playing alone. Maybe you’re there with friends. You’re having a great time exploring, playing, and experiencing the park.
But one of your friends interrupts your play and says, “Shoot guys, it’s getting late. I need to go home now.” What do you do?
Do you say, “Oh okay, cool. It was great hanging out with you. Hope to see you at the park again soon. Have a great trip home!”
Or do you cry, stop playing, hover around the edge of the park and wish with all your might that your friend didn’t have to go home so early?
Maybe it’s disappointing when your friend goes home because you were enjoying his company. Maybe playing in the park is not as much fun after your friend goes home. That’s understandable.
Maybe you feel like the park isn’t even worth playing in if your friend can’t be there with you.
Maybe you decide you’ll just go home too, even though you don’t have to.
This is life. And this is the decision you face when someone in your life passes away.
You can keep playing in the park of life. Or you can be very upset that they are gone and simply come to a stop.
I know sometimes the desire to just leave the park and go be with your friend, lover, child, parent, is overwhelmingly enticing.
But look at it from their point of view.
“Dude, I wanna come with you?” you say to your friend.
He replies, “Nah, man. Don’t leave on my account. Stay and enjoy the park.”
You say, “No, it’s just not the same without you. It’s no fun anymore. I just want to leave.”
He says, “Dude, I HAVE to leave, but you don’t. I’d feel really bad if you left the park just because I was leaving. Please, keep playing. And I want to hear all about your park adventures when you go home for the night too.”
I know it’s hard to lose someone you love. I think partly that’s because you think you’ll never see them again, or you think they are lost to you, or even suffering. But they’re not. They went home for the day. They are not lost or destroyed.
It’s your choice how you handle it when someone “leaves the park.” Grief over the loss is so natural. But try to remember that the park is there for you to have fun and experience joy. And when someone leaves, you honor them by continuing to play.
Isn’t that what you’d want your loved ones to do if you went home?
So grieve. Do your thing. And when the sting is lessened, go back and play. Play hard. Enjoy it all. Because one day, you will be called home as well. Don’t waste a moment.