"The Church is a field hospital for the wounded, not a haven for saints. Its doors opened two thousand years ago, and they are still open today. Inside these doors can be found true peace and joy, especially for those who are hopeless, hurting, or suffering" (Pope Francis).
To all of you who are experiencing the agony of grief,
I am so sorry about your loss! I am so sorry that you have to suffer this way! I wish there was some way I could take the pain away from you. I can’t take it away but I am with you in it. I understand how difficult and heartbreaking a sudden and unexpected death of a close family member can be. I lost my 26 year old son almost three years ago on October 15. It seems like it has been forever and only a day at the same time. Time moves fast and slow at the same time.
His death was a complete blindside. In no way did we see it coming. My family and I have had to learn to live one day at a time, especially for the first two years, because that is all we could do. Thinking of never seeing Brett again in this life was more than we could bear. Every morning I would wake up and think, I can make it through today without Brett. Thinking of the future without him, even only as far into it as the next day, was too hard. We learned that God’s grace and provision are always with us in the present moment. We don’t have the grace and strength for the future yet but we will when it gets here in real time.
Now that it is almost three years later, I am able to think about the future without my son physically present in it without it causing me anxiety. Two years ago I could not do that. God has given me the grace to live in the present moment with joy & sorrow peacefully coexisting in my heart and, at the same time, with much hope for the future even though Brett will not be a part of it physically. I know that it is His desire is to do the same for everyone. Living in anticipatory anxiety about the difficulty entailed in carrying a particular cross is a recipe for depression and poor health - physically and psychologically.
In addition to the amazing prayers & support of family and friends, I have found the following things helpful as I grieve this loss of my precious son. I only share them because maybe they will help you too! My suggestion is that you read this post little by little. It is a lot to take in. I also suggest that you pray to God as you read it. Ask him to help you understand what I am trying to share with you. Ask him to increase your Faith.
Here are some of the lifelines from Heaven - channels of God’s grace - that have helped me in my bereavement:
1. Intentional Openness to His Grace
I ask God every day to be able to “welcome the grace” he is continually offering me that will empower me to keep going forward. That might sound unusual but it is easy to close our heart to his grace.
So even if you go through a stage where you feel angry at him, keep asking him for the grace to be open to his grace.
Think of your heart like a well and God’s grace is like water that is continually poured into it or like water that bubbles up from deep down inside of it. Try to keep the well of your heart open and free of clutter (sin, bad habits, negativity, etc.) so that his grace can fill it up. Little by little, his presence will fill up your well and it will overflow into every part of your mind and heart and through you it will reach others.
2. Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament & Confession (the sacrament of Reconciliation)
Grieving is hard. We need God’s help. Jesus, in Holy Communion, will strengthen you for this journey of grief and will give you his love and peace through your union with him. This is because when we receive the Eucharist, we are receiving the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Eucharist = Sacred Heart of Jesus) and his sacred heart is full of sacrificial love. Through our reception of His Sacred Heart in Holy Communion, He is sharing his divine life with us, placing it in our soul - he is deifying us - and is making all of his strength. love and virtues ours to live from.
If you haven’t been to Mass for a while or if you were away for a time, it is necessary to go the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) before you receive Holy Communion and then commit to attending every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation at the very least. Attend as often as possible especially when you are suffering (here is a great Examination of Conscience and instructions on how to make a good Confession).
All God asks is for us to set aside one hour a week of our time to come to Mass and what He pours into our soul during that one hour is such a blessing whether we feel it or not; whether we detect it or not.