You'd think that after 2 1/2 years, I would get used to this, that an answer would glide smoothly off my tongue and that it would be me comforting her. Only it was that moment. The moment where you're caught off guard, where you figured you were safe because a) everyone you know already knows of your loss or b) you meet new people and you get to steer the conversation.
I stumbled backward in my mind, frantically trying to come up with something that sounded good, but the long pause before I uttered my standard response of "He'd be 18" gave me away. I croaked out my rehearsed reply anyway, but it fell flat. Then, to my surprise, I started to cry. Because I recognized something. She was actually one of those who listened. She had caught the subtle side-stepping I had done. Most people don't catch it. But she did, and instead of me comforting her, she comforted me.
Thankfully, I found my footing quickly and stepped back into the ring. Grief rarely knocks me out any more, and I recovered well. As I left, I smiled to myself because I realized the bully Grief wasn't going to win. Not that day. Though he ambushed, he failed to drag me away or take me out. I determined that I was not going to wallow in what I had lost and reminded myself again of the truth.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.