I think these are some of the most powerful words in the Bible. On the even of his crucifixion, Jesus was desperate, he was alone, he was praying to be saved from his ‘fate’ while on another level knowing he could not be.. We can draw a parallel her with how it is for us when we go through so much trauma, especially at the hands of those who should care for, protect, nurture and love us ; parents, siblings, teacher, partners even friends. Going through so much damage and pain or loss of potentials can often seem a burden too huge to bear but until we can we will never find liberation from that ‘fate’, nor be able to embrace the transformation or post traumatic growth that lies on the other side
Jesus could feel and wrestle with those ‘demons’ and that is what marked him out and his crucifixion also shows that he could bear death.. In an interesting synchronicity, today in Australia on breakfast radio, presenter Geraldine Doogue interviewed a woman who has written a book on death and principally about how shy we are in our culture at facing it.
Most often when someone dies we leap to get the funeral organized as quickly as we can.. We often do not see the dead body and here in Australia often caskets are closed.. I know that in Holland there is a ritual in which the body is actually put in one of the rooms in the house in an open casket and is able to be viewed.. This gives people time to visit and say goodbyes or even talk to the loved one in order to resolve the loss.
For me, losing my father at 23, and never getting to see him either before or after he died was a major thing contributing to the fact that I never began to work through or resolve that loss (along with so many others) until many years later.. In my family my brother stepped in to manage everything and took over it all, as he did when my mother died, but in the case of Mum I did get to see her dead body. And I had said all I needed to say over those final 5 or so nights leading to her death in December 2017.
Many years later after I finally got sober and my godfather died in 2003 at 10 years of sobriety, I asked to be able to go to see his body. On the day he died from an aneurysm I actually had a pain in my head and at his funeral I got to cry but was shamed by my sister who called me to task for ‘making an exhibition of myself’ by crying while hugging his oldest grandson. One of the reasons my husband left me in the end in 2004 was that he did not want me feeling anything of the sadness of my Dad’s loss which began to really open up from around 2001 onwards and only when I had lived through over 8 years of active abstinence from alcohol and drugs. As I look back unresolved griefs from generations played such a huge part in the addiction legacy of my mother’s side of the family.
The anniversary of my older sister dying is in 4 days time but she actually died on Easter Sunday morning at 3 am in 2014.. I was lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with her on the Easter Saturday from around 4 pm to 11 pm when her sons arrived, sons she had been removed from in around 1983. After her death two of them came to stay with me and we got to talk through a lot, there was a big argument on the night of the funeral because they came home drunk and I was upset my other living sister had been shunted away into the psyche ward and so prevented from attending her funeral.. But the next day when they sobered up and I calmed down we resolved all of that. I will always be so grateful for those 4 or so days we three got to spend together while all the arrangements for her funeral were made.
The point I am trying to make here and the point the author of that book makes it that in trying to rush hurry up and hide ourselves from the dead body and our grief we miss essential times of transformation and deepening that may, in the end help us to face more of life.. We lie to ourselves when we think hiding our pain and grief or feelings of sadness or loss or ‘protecting’ people from theirs is doing them a service. That said each person’s grief process is individual and complex and we all know a manifold number of griefs in our lives and may come into families already riven with hidden ones from generations back, at least this is what I have began to learn about my own family of 6 or 7 generations lately.
Christ rises on Easter Sunday and a great light dawns.. to me that seems to a powerful metaphor for the fact that if we allow a grief process to play out fully (symbolically represented in the time he spends in the tomb with the 3 Marys also grieving fully during that time,) we can emerge into the light again and become deepened in our appreciation of the preciousness of each and every small moment of living remaining.. That is most certainly what I am experiencing lately, especially at this Easter anniversary of Judith’s death 8 years later.
Jesus shows me a human face when he cries, he shows me that my tears mean something. It is said in another part of the Bible that each one of our tears ever shed is held in a sacred vial and is meaningful to God. I firmly believe that.. So lets stop shunning those who grieve and stop running from our own.. Grief does make us feel powerless but as we say in AA there is one who has all power and if we kneel in full surrender to our grief then we will all too easily be able to see that magical and mysterious face of God.
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