I came to the morning, to the news of two deaths – a colleague’s young husband, and baby Charlie Gard of the UK. One was expected, the other not, but both hurt. And the passings hurt for different reasons.
Yet, my sadness is nothing compared to the pain of the young Muslim widow who lost her husband and her best friend whom she thought was on his way to recovery after a stroke and surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain. There is nothing I am feeling that can compare to the sorrow of baby Charlie’s parents who fought so hard to try to heal their baby and keep him alive. I can only stand useless by the door of grief as they henceforth carry their beloveds in their hearts and begin a painful, twisting journey far removed from the lit highway so many of us stand on.
This is the night when prayers sit only a wee while on my heart and lips like rainpearls before they slip off the tree boughs. I cannot hold on to a single prayer rope tonight when I want so much to offer prayers for those left to mourn departed loves that had once snuggled deep in hearts. This is the night when the words to comfort a widow of 30 sound tinny and forced and empty because although I too have known the searing bitterness of loss, I have not known my colleague’s grief. I cannot even tell her I love her as one who wants to carry her Cross with her, because there are no words that recognize such a love in her faith and in the language she speaks.
This is the night when words fail me, when nothing is worthy enough to staunch the bleeding of wounds that go far deeper than most understand, and which will soon go unseen as grief transitions from visible to hidden, yet raw.
So, I press grief and the grieving into a heart that once knew a depth of pain beyond words, beyond anything we have ever known. In the absence of words, I press pain and love and memories into the maternal heart that saw Her only Son give up His life to a death that led to Life eternal, so that through suffering, God’s Love might live on.
The past, the present and the future have its place in the heart the world knows as the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And it is here, in the Heart of Mary, that grief will be purified and sanctified.
Till it is free of earthly shadows.