“You need to come to the hospital, right now,” a nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines told me calling from my father’s cell phone one year ago today.
My heart was racing as I traveled to the hospital not knowing what happened with my parents other than knowing they were in an accident, but fearing the worst.
My worst fears were partially realized when an ER physician gave me the worst news of my life, a drunk driver took the life of my mother, Linda Vander Hart. My parents were driving to my sister’s house to console her and her children after her ex-husband and father of her children, James Bartels, was killed in a car accident just hours before.
My parents waiting at a stoplight at the intersection of E. Euclid and E. 33rd St. on the east side of Des Moines as they headed toward Altoona were rear ended by this selfish, selfish man who, we were told by the police, was driving approximately 70 mph. My mom was killed instantly and my dad, Dan Vander Hart, suffered a broken jaw, but worse, lost his bride of 49 years.
After one year and we are still waiting for justice. Her killer’s trial has been delayed twice, the second time it was pushed to April 18, 2022.
I miss her and not a day goes by when I don’t think about her. The grief I’ve experienced over the past year has been a process.
C.S. Lewis, in A Grief Observed, wrote, “Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.”
I think that is an appropriate description. You can’t rush it, it takes on different forms and phases, and all you can you can do is journey along the path through it. Deep sadness, depression, disbelief, anger, I’ve experienced it all while also taking time to celebrate her life.
But the grief I experience today is not the grief I experienced a year ago.
In all of this God is faithful.
Scripture tells us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end,” (Lamentations 3:22, ESV).
I never doubted and I can testify that this is true.
It is also true that “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning,” (Psalm 30:5b, ESV).
Grief will fade and joy will return.
I can rejoice that my mom is in the presence of the Lord and I will one day see her again. I also am thankful that Jesus at the cross defeated death so we can have eternal life. And one day we will experience grief no more.
As a Christ-follower, I can and do have the hope of the resurrection and the truth that Jesus “will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” (Revelation 21:4, ESV).