As the limp body of Jesus is taken from the Cross it is placed in Mary’s arms. She holds him as once she did as a babe in Bethlehem when her heart resonated with hopes and dreams and expectations. Now these have all been shattered apparently beyond repair. Her faith faces its greatest challenge; is this the end of the story and was her journey of faith just an illusion, signifying nothing?
So it is when we are confronted with the loss of a loved one, especially where life has been tragically cut short. Can we ever rise again from the ashes of defeat and disappointment? If the one we trusted is all powerful why did he not save us from this hour but instead left us God-forsaken?
Love is life’s greatest gift but grief is the price we pay. The only way out of grief is through. There is no way to avoid the pain of loss and this too has to be embraced before it can be transformed. Distractions to grief like overwork, regrets and recriminations have to be avoided. If we deny our emotional pain it contaminates our actions, words and relationships. We then emanate negative energy that others sense and distance themselves from. Our very pain that we want to avoid has the capacity to heal us, if we can stay with it. Slowly death gives way to life and while an earthly tie has been broken, love survives when grief has passed because love can never die. Our loved ones remain in our hearts and minds not as they were, but now wherever we are. In the words of the poet David Romano:
If tomorrow starts without me
Don’t think were far apart.
Just hold me in your thoughts.
I’m right there in your heart.