At the end of Tolkien’s Return of the King, Frodo is plagued by recurring fits of pain due to a wound he received from a Morgul blade back at the beginning of his quest to destroy the One Ring. The pain is like an evil visitor, one which Frodo can conceal well from everyone, with the exception of his dear friend and servant Samwise.
I have come to know that anniversaries of the death of loved ones are like that. That old wound is an evil visitor that assaults us sometimes unawares. Sometimes on schedule. Sometimes with a renewed vigor that undoes us. And many times this evil visitor is only noticed by the Samwises in our lives.
So today, on the 10th anniversary of our son Noah’s stillbirth, I feel the wretched pinch of that Morgul blade and remember my fellow grievers. As a friend, pastor, and fellow griever once told me, “We (who have lost a loved one) are members all of a fraternity we would never have wished access to but now have access to the hearts of those who suffer like we do.”
So today, no ordinary day, I reach out to those who have been blindsided by grief, whether fresh or well-weathered, and wish that your Samwise might be close at hand. Most importantly, you also must remember that there is One from whom you can’t go where He can’t follow. For if Christ took our nature into the grave only to rise again in resurrection glory, then he is the head of our fraternity of sufferers. For no one else is firstborn from the dead. The sting and shadow of death still clings to everything and everyone but Him. So my dear fellow sufferers, in the midst of your pain, cling to Him. And if you have no strength to cling to Him, ask Him to cling to you. That’s ok. That’s enough.