A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with a friend, and she asked me a question that has really had me thinking. We had had a wonderful couple hours of deep, rich conversation, when she posed this question. She didn't mean for it to be a hard question; in fact, she asked it as if she already knew how I was going to answer. With sparkling eyes and intensity in her voice, she leaned across the table and said, "Don't you just feel Hannah's presence around you all the time?"
For a split second, I hesitated, then replied, "Yes...Yes, I do." Because that was the "right" answer. That's what I was supposed to say.
My friend had to leave the restaurant shortly after that. We had talked for so long, she was about to be late to pick up her kids from school. I told her to go on, and I cleaned up our mess. As I walked out of the restaurant alone, all I could think about was my answer to her question. I had given her the answer she was expecting, but was it the truth?
Do I feel Hannah's presence all around me? The truth is no. No, I don't. And I don't feel her guiding me or watching over me from Heaven.
And for awhile, that kind of bothered me. Should I? Is there something wrong with my grieving process because I don't? To be honest, I wish I did. I would love to feel that kind of closeness with her ... to feel surrounded by her presence.
So then, I've wondered why not. Why don't I feel her presence with me? Has my grief hardened me to the point where I have become that unfeeling? Have I just not been paying attention? Is there something wrong with me?
And after lots of thought, I've come to some conclusions. Now, these conclusions may evolve, as thoughts and feelings often do as one travels a grief journey. And my conclusions and experiences may very well differ from those of others. I've heard others say that they do feel the presence of a departed loved one with them, and who am I to question their experience? I can only speak for myself and my own experiences.
I was with Hannah when she left her earthly body. I breathed her final breaths along with her, and I felt her hands and face grow cold. Her presence left us that day.
II Corinthians 5:8 tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I believe that as Hannah's absence in that room became a reality, so did her presence with the Lord.
And I've decided that that's why I don't feel her presence with me. It's because she's with Him. And seriously, if you were with Him, would you want to hang out with me?
So, no, I don't feel Hannah's presence all around me. And I'm okay with that. She has better things to do right now. And one day, when God's through with me here, I'll get to be with Him too. And getting to hang out with Hannah for eternity will just make it that much sweeter!