“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” ~ Thomas Campbell
Yesterday, we had a Liturgy of Remembrance at our parish. Every year on the Feast of All Saints, we invite family members and friends of the people we have buried that past calendar year to come to church so that they can remember their loved ones in a special prayer service.
At the service, they come forward and inscribe their loved one’s name in the Book of Remembrance. They also hear reflections about the grief process and are given the opportunity to share with one another in fellowship afterwards.
The remembering of our beloved dead is important; yet, it also can be very painful. The first year is especially difficult as people face important events for the first time without their loved one present. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays can all take on somber tones after someone’s death.
One of the things we learn, though, is that our loved ones never really die. They may leave us in this physical world but, as people of faith, we know that they have gone home to the Lord and are waiting for the day that we are called as well so that we can see each other again. That is one of the reasons that Christians embrace rather than fear death. We know that death is not an ending but a beginning.
If you know someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, reach out to that person. Tell stories about that person that mean something to you. Those stories will give those who grieve new chances to remember their loved one and to cling to the hope of reunion for, whenever you speak of the person, he or she truly feels present once again.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who grieve the loss of loved ones and who dread the upcoming holidays that their memories may help them heal.