During this world pandemic, I identified with a woman on a national newscast interview. She said the hardest thing about her mothers death was that her mom died alone, and she didn’t even get to tell her goodbye.

Sudden death is extremely hard.  I know. Our oldest son died unexpectedly some years ago. He died alone. There was not any gathering around a hospital bed with family nearby. There were no sweet farewells, no parting last words.  Just a phone call one hot August day telling me Aaron had died. All the things you wish you had said, all the things you  wish you had not said.  That time, it’s clean gone.

For our family, not only was there this abrupt loss but there was lack of closure.

In our church recently, a dear older woman passed away from natural causes. But, due to the distancing protocol , everything had to be altered.  The funeral home was not sure what to do.

None of us were  encouraged to attend, but cautioned to stay at home. These were things never encountered before. How to have a service to honor the departed, yet be safe ?  However, someone that knew  how to  do a virtual funeral was found. So, we watched online in our homes.  It wasn’t the same, something was lacking. Being able to gather together with others is great comfort, and we all missed that intensely.

When our son had  passed away we also had to alter some of the traditional ways. Due to the nature of his death and the time that had elapsed, there could be no open casket, no final viewing time.

We were told we must quickly plan his funeral.

Sudden death will shock you, then mercifully numb you, so you can mechanically do what needs to be done.  When life ceases in your loved one, you also feel lifeless as you deal with grief.

There were  details we could not share with anyone. They were too  raw. Today there are those who are dealing with this in greater proportions.  As I watch the news, I hurt for them.

Sudden death can take away every crutch you lean on, and you will either fall on your face in despair, or you will fall on your knees before God.  For me, I knew where to turn even though I had no answers.  I knew Who did.

In the book of  ( Lamentations 3: 20-23, NLT emphasis added )  it reads,  “ I will never forget this awful time as I grieve over my loss.  Yet I still dare to HOPE when I remember this.  The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness…”

There is One who knows the details we cannot share.  There is One Who was willing to die an ugly, messy death for humanities sin.  And this Man tasted death for us alone , so we need never be alone.  He asks us to lay down all our unknowns, all our sorrows at His feet, and  He will do for us what we could never do for ourselves.  He will take our sins, and carry our grief.  It is Christ alone Who can bring beauty out of ashes, and impart to us a joy that looks beyond the grave,  even beyond never getting to say goodbye.

Jill Smoot


Jill Smoot

I am happily married to my husband, Dwight, and we are blessed with five children, six grandchildren. I am active in my church, and I have been a teacher, bible study leader, and a guest speaker at a women's conference in Oklahoma City. My topic was about children born with cleft palates, which our youngest adopted daughter was born with. I attended junior college, but only one semester. Have traveled to Ukraine three times, as I have relatives living there. Taught myself Russian, so I could converse, but it is very basic.I am an organic " farmer", on a small scale. I am a Master Gardener. I am currently doing book signings, but hope to connect with those involved with mental health. .I am looking for opportunities to share my story of our son, Aaron. to reach out to those who hurt as we still do. To come alongside of those whose lives are torn apart as ours was, and to offer the comfort and hope I found in God.

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