I also know firsthand the pain of losing my pastor who'd been the leader of my church since before my birth. Ironically, he died when I was 21, the same age my mama was when her pastor died. He was killed during a trip to a church conference in New Orleans on a Tuesday. No one could believe it, it was so sudden. He had just done a wedding at church on Saturday. A week before he'd done a sermon for all the youth, disussing AIDS and sex and violence, which was completely out of the ordinary for him. I was okay at first, but by the second day, I cried alllll day and alll night for days. I couldn't imagine someone else standing in his place. I can admit now that there were some things about him I didn't particularly like. I understand having respect for the leader of your church, but a man is a man. Humans are not perfect by far. The last Sunday he was here, I actually held a conversation with him. He was an advocate of Black people getting advanced education. He told me to make sure I attend graduate school because I had always been such a smart girl. We even joked around for a minute. I thought to myself "that wasn't so bad. Next Sunday I'll chit chat with him." That Sunday never came. That was possibly the only time in my life I have ever really greived.
The moral of the story is time does heal all wounds. You never forget, but with God's help, you are able to move on, just the way that person who is gone would want you to. I am praying for his family and his church.