Hello dear reader! I am back after a brief but painful absence. I want to talk today about one of the most important topics that can be discussed; the two-headed topic of grief and sorrow. Recently my beloved Aunt Kathy passed away and I will not lie…..I was in a dark place for a bit as old demons resurfaced and tried to tear me apart. “What is your place in all this? Is there any meaning in it all if you die anyways? Is it all for nothing?” No doubt about it; grief just sucks.
Thankfully she did not suffer; she passed in her sleep from congestive heart failure due to 50+ years of smoking. It was the sheer suddenness of it all that hurt the most. One day she was talking and acting normally, the next she was barely able to open her eyes. I knew that the smoking is what caused her to die, but it didn’t make things hurt any less. For a few weeks I didn’t have much interest in anything. My beloved wife had to lead me by the nose on a few occcasions. My depression and anxiety were going full tilt and I was nearly powerless to do anything about it.
Thankfully as the healing process went on I took stock in the fond memories I do have. One of my favorites was playing Monopoly with her and my Gram. We would try to stick each other with the money bag token. Whoever had the money bag token always lost. Badly. My friends and loved ones were also of great help and solace to me as time marched onwards. I gradually felt interested in things again and am finally in a good enough head space to write.
Let’s start with the obvious about grief;
Grieving and pain are part of the human experience. Not even Jesus himself was exempt from it. When his friend Lazarus died, he did indeed weep. Even knowing that He would raise his friend from the dead He shared this very human trait. Jesus also stated in Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” You see, dear reader, grief and sorrow both spring from loving someone very deeply. In a way, it’s a price you pay for loving someone very deeply. A cross, if you will.
The pain from losing a loved one may seem infinite and endless. But there is healing and comfort to be had from other loved ones and friends. It may feel like you are hanging on by a golden thread, but it will be a strong thread.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that God will never leave you nor forsake you in your grief. The Psalms have many verses pertaining to grief and sorrow. My personal favorite is Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Remaining faithful to God is the best course of action you can pursue. It’s ok to be sad, depressed, even angry about the loss. God will shelter you in His loving arms no matter what. Job is a great example of how to handle grief. He went on a roller coaster of emotions, from intense grief to self loathing and many things in between, But in all things he never lost sight of God and always came back to worshipping Him.
Lastly, our main hope as Catholics is in the Resurrection.
We mourn the loss and experience the pain, but we know this is not the end. We trust in the mercy of God and believe that the loved one has passed into Heaven to be with God. And that thought will eventually grant you peace. It may not be today or tomorrow or even in a few weeks, but I promise you that God’s promises are forever.