tombstone-with-broken-vaseHere’s my first Blasts from the Past installment. Even though this post is a decade old, it still hits particularly close to home, as I’ve been thinking about this story a lot over the past year and a half since my sister died. I even called the chaplain to thank him for his example in grieving in grace; knowing that it’s okay to let your sorrow show, seeking and accepting grace from others, but also to give others grace as they navigate the turbulent waters of loving you in your grief.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Till Death Do Us Part

In all my quarter-life thoughts about marriage, this is not a phrase I have spent enough time contemplating, or at least not in the right way. I have recently realized that in spending a considerable amount of time weighing the gravity of the lifetime commitment of “to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, till death do us part,” I have overlooked the eternal ramifications of “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

A week ago, one of our chaplains lost his wife to a long battle with a particularly rare form of cancer. He’s taking it very hard, as well he should. He’s lost the women who he fell in love with at first sight. I’ve heard the story once or twice, but it’s just as beautiful no matter how many times I hear it. While visiting his home on break from college, he saw her from afar and asked his brother, “Who is that girl?” Then he said, “I am going to marry that girl.” She was only about sixteen at the time and he was about nineteen, but in the years to come he pursued her and they had a beautiful, long, devoted marriage.

The past couple of years have been really hard on him, you can see it in his face, hear it in his voice. When she was doing well, so was he, but when she went through rough patches, it was his face that stood as the weather-worn billboard of their trials. Hearing him talking about her and the faith he has had throughout this entire process encourages me greatly, which I suppose is why I have felt such a devastating loss at her passing.

To hear and see him speak is to understand how much she truly means to him. In her passing, I’ve come to realize that sometimes there are bonds so strong that death simply can’t “do us part.” In thinking about love and marriage, I find myself hoping for something that will last the strains of life, I’ve never given thought to enduring the strains of death.

In light of all this thinking, I’ve also been carving out some little lyrical snippets, here’s a bit:

I said I would hold you, have you till the end
Promised only death would do us part
Now I know those solemn vows were mere lies upon my lips
For even death cannot tear me from your heart

It’s not fair. It’s not fair. No one asked for my opinion
It’s not fair. It’s not fair. No one had my heart in mind
No one told me that this day would feel like the end of time
No one told me I’d be buried in your grave