FOR those of us who have lost a loved one, so often there are places, songs, photos and so on, that make up a great collection of memories. As I approach the second anniversary of my mum’s death, I confess I always dread this month.
If I’m honest, for me the last few weeks of her life were probably the most horrendous. I still remember every detail. As I was looking through old photos, I came across a photo I had taken of a hospital corridor. Yes, you read that correctly: I took a photo of a hospital corridor. Interestingly, the corridor was empty.
Immediately, my memory was transported back to the Christmas Day I took this particular photo six months before she died. I remember it so well.
• It was the corridor where I came out to catch my breath just after being told that my mum had Stage 4B cancer.

• It was the corridor in which I broke the news to my husband and daughters, and tried my best to comfort them (in the midst of barely holding myself together).

• It was the corridor I sobbed in (many times).

• It was the corridor where I would often sit and drink coffee (alone).

• It was the corridor where I would attempt to pray, but had no words.

• It was the corridor where I often sat in silence.

• It was the corridor where I encountered other relatives who were also crying after receiving bad news.

• It was the corridor where I would bump into people I know, but couldn’t bring myself to talk to them.

• It was the corridor where my son played with his remote-control car on that particular Christmas Day (while we visited my mum).

• It was the corridor where my mum held my arm tightly as she struggled to walk to my car when she was discharged a few weeks later. She was so happy to get out for a short while, and so was I.
I have no idea why I took this photo. Maybe, it’s because on that particular day what was usually a very busy hospital corridor was unusually quiet. But I was there. My mum was there. Our hearts and minds capture pictures every day. I can still see that corridor. And I can still see my mum.
Friends, I am aware that for many of us this season is extremely painful and difficult. But I know that ‘The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and those crushed in spirit (Ps 34:18).
He is present and He is close in the messy, painful, heartbroken, complicated, unspoken, grief-stricken, busy or (quiet) corridors of our lives.
He is here. He is present. And He is with you. You are not on your own.