Seven Years of Sorrow, Seven Years of Hope

me and livThis is the day. Seven years ago today our daughter Olivia went to be with Jesus.  Each year I spend this season thinking about our lovely, happy brave girl. She was a gift from God. This is where my thoughts have been.

There is a time after losing a loved one when panic sets in. I read about this in CS Lewis’  A Grief Observed and I have felt it myself. It is the time when you realize you are moving inexorably away from when you were together. First it is a small gap of hours or days and then one day you realize it has become a chasm larger than the Grand Canyon which, by the way,  was crossed by a Wallenda. There is no crossing this. Not in this life.  And you want to go back to the time when it was only a day or a week since being with your dear loved one, or back farther when even though she was ill, she was there and breathing and a smile might come now and then and the loss was not so permanent.

I was sitting by the grave of our daughter a few years back when I felt this selfsame panic, the feeling of leaving behind the dear presence of Olivia. And I do think it was God who comforted me with His truth. This is not the end. This isn’t all there is. Remember the future. Look ahead.  You are moving away but you are also moving toward – toward the kingdom that shall not be shaken where God will wipe away your tears. Forever.

I thank God for making us with imaginations.  Sometimes when I run I am filled with thoughts of heaven and God and grace and majesty and my hands go up in happiness and worship. I picture Olivia in heaven. She is sitting at the feet of Jesus with her hands on the ground behind her as she looks up into his face.  She is having a marvelous time, love and laughter and light abound. And I imagine that with my hands outstretched and hers on the floor of the heavens as she listens to Jesus …..almost our fingers touch.

One day they will. In that unshakable kingdom where tears are wiped away, the chasm dividing us will be no more. My morning run today mirrored my thoughts. It is a cold, bleak day. The tears flow, but the comfort and hope God gives is present too. The winter sun shines. I know spring is coming.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Vivian Walden

14 thoughts on “Seven Years of Sorrow, Seven Years of Hope

  1. I did not know you suffered this loss. My prayers are with you. I have a dear friend who is dealing with a child who has a disease that will take him to the Lord earlier than we would all like. I will recommend the CS Lewis book, if she hasn’t already read it. She is also very devout and knows that Andrew is a gift from God for the time he is here. You post is beautiful and again, my prayers are with you.


  2. Thank you, Vivian, for that understanding of grief. Blair’s dad just passed away and I was surprised at how much grief I felt. He was old, he was ready to die, he had been without his beloved wife for almost ten years. Yet we don’t like saying goodbye. It hurts, just as it hurts to think about how much you miss Olivia. And it also reminds us of all the others we have had to say goodbye to. I am so thankful for a God who comforts you, and who comforts me. So thankful that we have heaven to look forward to, and forever to be there.
    You are in my prayers today.


  3. Thanks for sharing….you put things into words so well. It has been 15 years (Feb. 2) now since I lost Mark. It seems like a lifetime, yet I wonder how it can be 15 yrs. already.


  4. “You are moving away but you are also moving toward – toward the kingdom that shall not be shaken where God will wipe away your tears. Forever. ”

    Thank you. May God bless you.


  5. This breaks my momma’s-heart. The Bible calls this “light and momentary affliction”. Surely that doesn’t mean it for now… it can only mean that heaven will make this all worth it. It surely doesn’t feel light and momentary in this life, does it. Love you. Great writing.


  6. Dear Viv… you should be a writer! I love the way you pen your heartfelt words and thoughts. There’s so much wisdom to glean from your personal experience – the dealing with and healing processes. I just don’t know how people do it without the Lord. My heart aches for you…and I long for that day when…. ” we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!” Sending you a huge hug, dear friend!


  7. Thinking of you today. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. God bless you. I remember Olivia’s beautiful spirit and smile. Precious. Love you, Viv


  8. What an incredible picture you have painted for us of the loss, but also of the hope of seeing Olivia again. Thanks for showing us your mother’s soul. Love, Patty


  9. Oh, Viv, you have put it so beautiful, and I know just how you feel. Eric has been gone 30 years but it seems like such a short time ago, But! the beauty of the Lord that has carried us through the years, with His comfort that is so hard to describe. Right! Love you folks and hurt with you.


  10. I read this and I see her dance…and I see a flicker of her in the hospital hallway.. then I see you taking pictures. What I see is the love that your Olivia had for her God and her family. She touched many people with her grace and beauty, her laughter and sweet soul. These are things I see in you too. So, when you are feeling distant. Look in the mirror, much of her can be seen in you. Thank you for the sweet memories. God Bless.


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