Mourning A Different Kind Of Loss

January 26, 2001
by Mary Daniel

Jeremiah 22:10 – Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him: but weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his native country. (KJV)

Throughout our lives, we are given losses of many descriptions: loss of home, job, friendships, health, lives. Years ago, we counted on family, friends, church groups to get us through. However, in our ever-changing, fragmented world, where both members of a family work, and, usually, members of our extended family live in another community, we are often left to work our own way through things or resort to the compassion of agencies set up to deal with our specific area of need.

No matter the situation, where we're living or whether we're visiting, there is someone who is always close at hand to hear our joys or cares, or share our sorrows. God is as close as a prayer.

At Thanksgiving, about a month after my father-in-law's passing, while home on a break from a month of doing all the things necessary when a loved one dies, a close family member called to share with me that their marriage of 18 years as they knew it was over, and that they had separated.

Thus while physically disposing of all the material things that had made up dad's life, I now was mentally disposing of the immaterial things that had, as I saw it, made up their marriage. The separation seemed far harder to bear than had the news of dad's death, for he had lived a long and faithful life, and was pretty much prepared for the final peace he so deserved.

In the ensuing days, I found great comfort in processing my thoughts through prayer, and was able to come to a certain level of acceptance of the situation. The incredible sorrow I had felt at the seemingly sudden separation gave way to wondering what God feels when we separate from him. Physical death is our soul's invitation home. Spiritual death resulting in our separation from God, though he may always hold the hope of reconciliation, must surely bring him incredible sorrow.

Prayer: O Holy Father, when we face those times where we may feel we are no longer getting anything out of our relationship with you, when we feel it needs to be redefined; that we have let each other down in some way, either our thoughts of your abandonment of us or ours of not needing you; may we not give up and turn away, but, instead, like the faint flutter of a bird in a tree, may we listen more closely to your voice to find how we fit in our relationship with you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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