Lamenting is an act of showing loss or grief. People lament over the loss of a loved one.
My personal experience of lamenting started back in October 2016 when my grandfather, whom I call Papo, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was not treatable. The mass on his pancreas was the size of a nickel. It would have been really hard to do chemo and take it out without opening the pancreas, which is very dangerous, so he had only months to live. Our family was in such pain to know that our Papo had a short couple of months.
When we think of lamenting, we associate it with grief and sorrows. Lamenting includes sadness that we hope never casts over our lives completely. According to Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This verse provides relief because it makes us realize we are not alone in this process of lamenting and mourning.
Ever since I was a little girl, my two younger sisters and I would go out to our grandparents’ family farm and jump on the hay bales, yell at the cows when to come up to the barn, and even go to the old shed and sneak wild baby kittens inside our grandparents’ house. My Papo was so fun-loving and charismatic with his grandkids. We would sleep over at my grandparents’ house almost every weekend in the summer.
Of course, my grandmother, whom we call Meme, always made the absolute best food. I mean five-course meals every time we would eat. Breakfast always included farm-fresh eggs, bacon, and French toast. My Meme and Papo’s house was like another home. I basically spent every minute with them and my sisters or other two cousins. My parents loved when we would go there because, of course, they didn’t have to clean and cook for us (just kidding, Mom and Dad).
As a believer in God, I kept questioning cancer and why it even exists. Many times I asked, “Why? Why does this have to happen, God?”
Of course, there are no easy answers to why cancer and bad things happen to good people, but I feel God gives his toughest battles to the toughest people. My Papo’s doctors told him he was given a couple of months to live. Every time we visited Papo, we always had this nervous feeling in our guts because every day was a different day. His body was changing, his face was thin, and his skin color wasn’t the same anymore. We were so heartbroken. At the end of our visits, we always said, “I love you” or Papo’s favorite saying, “I wouldn’t trade you for a farm in Texas.” My Papo was my biggest supporter in everything I did. I could have played the worst soccer game of my life, and he still would have been my biggest fan.
The process of grieving is hard. When we lament, we may seek God to be on our side and protect us from sadness, and we may reach out to Him to help us through the process of sadness. We sometimes ask God to console us in times of loss, and we feel the power of the Holy Spirit within and around us. We have to know how to cope with the fact that some things are out of our reach and power, and we need to let go and let God. Some people can’t realize how powerful God actually is and how much He helps in situations like lamenting and mourning.
My Papo passed away in April 2017 — seven months after his diagnosis. He survived seven months of breakdowns, pain, discomfort and being scared for his life. He fought his battle as hard as he could. God guided my Papo to have peace, to receive comfort, and to help his loved ones find trust. Papo knew he would be in a better place. Not only is lamenting associated with the death of someone else, but I feel my Papo lamented that he felt a sense of sadness for himself. Of course, he had family surrounding him and loving him unconditionally, but he had to deal with the tragic news that his life would be cut short because of a tumor.
Many people have dealt with lamenting and mourning, and if you haven’t yet, you likely will. Sometimes it’s good to mourn so you don’t have to keep your emotions bottled up. Every day during Papo’s final months, I thanked God that He gave my Papo another day to live. Always count your blessings whether you feel sad or feel unhappy. Reach out to God and ask for His power and relief as you lament.
Kaylie Weideman is a student and a member of the women’s soccer team at Greenville University in Greenville, Illinois.5