I woke up with a couple of things on my mind: a bio I have to write for the magazine. Writing those for others is fairly easy, writing about myself eh, not quite so much. Then there’s the whole choosing a bio pic, do I choose one of the professional ones or one of the fun ones? I’m thinking in this case one of the fun ones. We’ll see what I can find. And finish the bio before I head off to the day job.
The other thing I woke up thinking about: grief. It’s partly on my mind because of the time of year; partly because several friends have had parents or spouses die and partly because I can see some grief coming. Grief, the physical loss of someone we love, is an exacerbation of our Original Loneliness described in Genesis. Knowing the story of the Garden, that story of Original Sin you may be wondering what I’m talking about. God cries out, “Adam where are you?” There is a disconnect between Adam *humanity* and God. I can not imagine Adam’s and Eve’s sense of loss over that disconnection. Well I can. There have been moments where I’ve had no sense of God’s Presence. Just because I’ve had no sense of His Presence doesn’t mean that God isn’t there any longer or God doesn’t exist it just means there’s a disconnect for some reason. Jesus went out into the desert place to be close to God.
That loss though, oh sometimes it’s physically painful. We cry out to God to ease the suffering and pain of that loss. And rightly we should. But what I’ve notice in my self and in other is that when God answers by sending people, inspiring people to reach out to us, we tend to reject that. We tend in these moments of Great Loss to send people away then get mad at God for not helping us when we’ve needed it the most. The death of a person is relational. We are no longer able to hear the voice, hug, hold hands with and find comfort in that person. We will Miss them, as is right. Our emotions are conflicted as we are in part relieved that the mom, dad, uncle, cousin, best friend, spouse, child, is no longer suffering from whatever illness; or the death might have come as something of a serious shock, suddenly, with no warning; or it might come and we’ve been expecting it for some reason and we’re relieved and angry.
When Grandpa passed away the wake was held for 2 days prior to the funeral Mass and cemetary; when Gramma passed we went right to the funeral service and cemetery. When my Mother-in-law passed we honored her wishes and didn’t have a wake at all. I will tell you that I missed that time to hear the stories of her. Of course I have my own memories of her but the other stories are just as important. We share in that moment of grief. We give comfort to one another. At dad’s wake one of the most beautiful moments was the “Coke Toast” when it was just us…each of us shared a thought a memory. One of the kids asked what a Toast was and he was asked to listen and then comment later on. When it was his turn, he got it and shared his memory well in a way that honored his relationship with dad (his grandpa) and made us all laugh. It’s a good memory. It’s grief, shared.
We are created for relationship. We are created to be community for one another. We are created to be there for one another. In Adams greatest time of need he rejected God. In our greatest time of need we often reject God, those nearest us or those that God is prompting to walk with us through this journey of grief. We are meant for each other. We are meant to hold hands and hug and offer comfort.
I know we all deal with grief differently. There are different moments, sights, smells that trigger memories and cause the memory to flow down our face brighten our face. I’ve shared before that a particular song brings this amazing memory of my dad that at times flows right down my face, or sits at the top of my throat with the physical promise of tears that do not come. My sister found a soap that reminds me of Grandpa and Gramma’s apartment from when we were little it’s such a comforting smell that I inhale deeply whenever I can. And then there’s my Mother-in-laws jewelry that I get to wear occasionally. There is a memory of someone that I can’t quite shake. Yes I said it, it’s not a pleasant memory but it’s deep and I have people that I can share this with, that have an understanding of this memory and can offer commiseration, comfort and support.
I won’t presume to tell anyone how to grieve or how or when to accept the comfort offered by those around, those who God sends to offer a hand, to cry with you, dinner…whatever. Each loss is different. Each loss has its own way of walking through our lives. In and through it all, whether we experience His Presence or not, God is with us.