One of the most difficult and strangest places to be emotionally is while you are waiting for a loved one to pass on. The 23rd Psalm calls this place the valley of the shadow of death. It is not an easy place to walk through alone. You’ll need a shepherd. Perhaps you have been there. It is when the doctors do not give you any hope. And the hope that God offers doesn’t always make sense. Nothing really makes sense. On one hand you would never wish for someone to die, but on the other hand there is a realization that death is imminent and you don’t want to see someone suffering. It is the waiting room to eternity and time doesn’t always behave properly because it must yield to a higher authority. Day to day schedules no longer take precedent and you begin to wonder if the clock is accurate because you seem to float in time, suspended in the memories with your loved one. One minute you are bawling your eyes out and the next minute you are crying from laughter. You are not sure how you are supposed to feel. And that is ok.
I think you truly enter into this valley when you know that your loved one is no longer aware of your presence. It hurts.
People pop in and out of the waiting room like characters from another universe. They make you feel better. They bring food and memories. They mourn with you.
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:1-4
As a younger man I found this a difficult passage of scripture to reconcile with my limited understanding and narrow perception of death. And also life. After a little more hands on experience with loss I now find great comfort in the words of The Preacher in Ecclesiastes.
It is good to mourn. Everyone mourns differently. I tend to write.