Mother’s Day is almost upon us, a day when people keenly feel the absence of mothers that have passed away. I so appreciate the sensitivity of Salvation Army church services in honouring absent mothers and making this day a little easier for those who feel sad.
Surely harder, though, is Mother’s Day for those parents whose children have died. My brother died at 28, and even as my sister and I found this loss a terrible thing to experience, it was so much harder for our parents to bear. I am still haunted by the memory of my father being invited to dig out some ground at the cemetery to start the hole in which the box bearing my brother’s ashes would be laid to rest. Everything in me protested the obscenity of this.
No parent expects to bury their children, but sadly many do due to accidents and illnesses. On Mother’s Day we want to remember and support those whose hearts are scarred by loss and for whom ‘special days’ may bring spasms of grief.
Of course, if we could go through life untouched and unmoved by our connections with others, then we would also be unaffected by their death. But what a lesser person that would make us. Jesus doesn’t expect us to quickly put such losses behind us. He cried when his friend Lazarus died and understands the human experience of grief. We hurt so much when someone dies because we loved them so much in life. And, as someone has said, ‘Love doesn’t end with dying or leave with the last breath. For someone you’ve loved deeply, love doesn’t end with death.’
In this edition, Kim, Andrew and Jesse McKerrow and Crystal Gerrand courageously share their experiences of grief after the loss of their daughter and sister Ruby. Andrew writes about ‘moving through’ this loss, rather than ‘moving on’. I think this is a helpful way of seeing the impact of loss. The death of a loved one will forever colour our lives—as it should. But amid the darkness of our loss, the brighter colour of a person’s life will still shine through.
‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’
Nga Waiata 73:26
‘Hemo iho oku kikokiko me toku ngakau: ko te Atua ia te kaha o toku ngakau, toku wahi ake ake.’
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