When I awoke this morning, I did not anticipate witnessing a car accident transpire in front of my very eyes, walking over to lay hands on and pray for an unconscious yet breathing man, hear him take his last gasp for air, then die.

It is quite surreal to see life leave a human, and despairing to watch medics work fervently at attempting to pump life back into his departed soul. I can’t imagine the thousands of emergency responders that experience this reality on a daily basis.

My heart hurts for this man’s family, and the grief they now face. Today was just another average day, and as this man began his day, I bet neither he nor his family expected that it would be his last.

While I was waiting to speak with a police officer to give my testament of the accident, a woman who had, minutes earlier, stood next to me while I prayed and she administered first aid care to the man, came over and embraced me in a tight hug. Tears were welling up and streaming down my face as I watched over her shoulder the unsuccessful efforts of the paramedics. When she pulled away, she looked fixedly into my eyes and told me to be sure to generously express my love to those who are close to my heart.

As I exited the scene of the accident, my mind flooded with thoughts of empathy and heartache for all those who have experienced significant and sudden loss: friends of mine, the families in Newtown, CT and Portland, OR, the orphans I spent time with in DR-Congo… these are only just a few, and it’s overwhelming to think of all the millions currently grieving.

I know the pain of sudden and significant loss all too well, in addition to the process of grief. It comes and goes in waves. Last night it came in a very strong wave at me, as I am currently grieving both fresh and familiar losses simultaneously. Today’s accident helped me remember that I’m not alone in my losses and grief. It was also an important reminder to carry intentionality to pause and take an extra minute to communicate my heart to those I love. I encourage you to do the same.

What a heavy day and year it has been. I so pray that the man I was burdened to intercede for in his last breaths, is now being held in the arms of our Heavenly Father.