About two months ago, I shared with you that Kirk’s mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
It was an aggressive cancer, spreading quickly to her bones, and this past Wednesday night, at about 10:10 p.m., she passed into eternal rest.
We are thankful she no longer suffers.
It’s a strange and holy thing, watching the person you love most walk through something as deep and profound as losing their mother’s presence on this earth.
Kirk and I have been talking quite a bit the last few days about the thin veil that exists between this world and the next and how much more real the next world is than this one. We’re thinking often these days of the fullness of joy Kirk’s mom now knows — an existence with no pain, no suffering, no tears, and a greater degree of love than she has ever known.
She is experiencing home in a way she never has before. For this, we are also thankful.
When someone beloved has passed on from this life, I often remember what a close friend of mine wrote about several years back when she was exploring Catholicism for the first time. She took some time to share about the Catholic practice of praying to the saints and put it in a perspective I had never thought about before.
We have no trouble asking believers to pray for us, she said. And the closer to God we perceive them to be, the more we covet their prayers, trusting their ability to pray for us in spirit and truth, especially when we don’t know how to pray for things ourselves.
How much more will those who have passed on from this life know how to pray for us, my friend said. The communion of saints who have gone before us have entered a dimension of reality that is more true, more real, and more pure than what we know. They are in the presence of God to a greater degree than we are. They participate in his holiness more than us.
And so we can trust their prayers, and we can ask them to pray for us.
I love this idea, and it brings home the idea that there is really a thin veil between this world and the next. Jesus in the Gospels and Paul in his letters describe dying as a process of “falling asleep” — something from which we wake up. Existence goes on. A death on this earth is not the end. The essence of ourselves continues to exist.
This idea is comforting when it comes to bereavement, I’ve found, because it can bring closure. Any unspoken words between us and the one who died can be spoken. Anything unresolved can be resolved.
We can also trust that the ones who passed know and understand circumstances and us to a fuller degree than their humanity ever allowed them to know and understand while they were here.
These thoughts are bringing us comfort today. These thoughts are giving us hope.
In what way can your own experience of bereavement be helped by these ideas?