Four years have passed since I last saw Caleb alive and twelve years since Emily died. It still hurts like HELL!
Unfortunately, this overused phrase has become meaningless or too glib to be taken seriously. The concept of Hell comes from the Bible’s description of people writhing in torment for an eternity as a punishment, a place so horrible everyone is wailing and gnashing teeth, surrounded by fire and darkness. Although commonly used as a curse word, I am attempting to accurately describe how I feel.
A deep-seated fire, a seething hatred of absence, burns within me. It rolls and boils, exuding its vile putridness all over my life. The fire consumes the landscape of my life, leaving even the beautiful remnants charred, marred by its fuel, grief.
It is Hell!
I cannot distinguish between this pain and Hell. Granted, I don’t know the reality of Hell, but I know what happiness feels like, and this is so far removed from it that I cannot express it. If something is the extreme opposite of happiness, Hell is a likely place.
One attribute of Hell is the separation from God. God is not there. Again, I notice no difference. I know he is here, but this burning grief sits with me as my only companion. I get moments of peace cuddling my wife and daughter, but grief is my only constant companion. God feels infinitely remote, as remote as my previously joyful life. I have faint memories of laughing carefree with my son. I remember long walks talking with God and contemplating the bubbling happiness overfilling my life. Having tasted such sweetness only makes the bitter more sour.
With no water in Hell, how can a creature burning within, covered in festering death, cry so many tears? Maybe this is not Hell. Maybe it is worse.