Paul, in a letter to Corinthian believers, penned the words "Oh grave, where is thy sting? Oh death, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor 15:22 KJV), referring to the reality that death does not have the final word and followers of Jesus can look forward to something beyond the grave.
On this tenth anniversary of my sister's death, it is a great comfort to know that the grave where her body lies (or what is left of it, after this long) is not her final resting place. It takes the sting out of her loss, to a great degree, because I have the hope of seeing her again.
Some people will read this and think I'm crazy. Some who read these words will shake their heads at my ignorance and reliance on fairy tales and fabrications of days gone by. You can enjoy your cynicism all you want to. I'll not try to argue with you or change your opinion. That isn't the point of this post.
The point of this post is to celebrate my sister's life, and to acknowledge as publicly as I know how that I have hope! Hope of being reunited with my sister, hope of seeing my grandparents once more, hope of snuggling in my arms the baby girl who was delivered to Heaven before she took her first breath of air.
I have hope.
And that is a very sweet thing.
Hope made visiting the cemetery bearable. Hope made remembering my sister's favorite things precious. Hope made celebrating a possibility, instead of sinking into a pit of darkness and heartache over my loss. Hope made today special, instead of miserable.
Don't think my eyes have been dry, however. They haven't been. Don't think that I'm unaffected by my sister's death. That simply isn't true. My heart aches with all that has happened over the last ten years that we weren't able to share together; the babies she never held, and who have never been held by her, the Christmases and birthdays she has missed, and the memories we've made without her.
It isn't easy to recognize that the grave has lost its sting.
But it has.
And on this anniversary, this "Golden Birthday"
of my sister's arrival in Heaven,
I am choosing to celebrate what her life has been and what we will enjoy together someday.