Death is not a happy occasion; most especially when while still grieving from the demise of a loved one, another one passes away.
We lost Mommy last week, seven months after we buried my father. Losing both parents only months apart left us (or at least it left me) almost emotionally drained. And yet we also find consolations in our moment of sorrow, on Mommy's passing. Let me share a few of them with you:
We are consoled by the fact that Mommy and Papa celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in 2008; not many were as lucky to have lived that long;
We are consoled by thought that not even death can part my parents for a very long time;
We were consoled by, and continue to find consolations in your kind words, your thoughts, your prayers, and your physical and spiritual presence in the hospital, during the wake, at the funeral. For the love and support, we thank you;
We were consoled by the genuine concern shown to us by the doctors, nurses, hospital crews throughout the time that Mommy (and even Papa) was undergoing treatment, numerous laboratory tests and medical procedures.
Not many, not even our close friends and relatives knew that Mommy had cancer; that she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer soon after Papa's funeral. We hardly told anyone outside of the immediate family about it, because it was painful to talk about it. I, myself, was in denial about her medical condition. When her prognosis was handed down, the doctors did not give us false hopes and were very upfront with us instead and told us Mommy had few months to live. Papa's passing left so much emptiness in us, and to be told that Mommy was almost near her finish line immediately after Papa's burial was, to say in the least, just too much to bear. But it is what it is, or it was what it was….
We are greatly consoled by our Catholic Faith; by the Catholic teaching that the soul, and even the body are resurrected. John Paul II, according to Peggy Noonan (in her book of JP2), used to say "that we Christians, especially Catholics, are lucky because we believe that the dead/body is resurrected; that Christianity or the Catholic Faith is the only religion that promises of the resurrection of not just the spirit/soul, but of the flesh or body as well. We Catholics always forget this, JP2 said, although we utter it every time we recite The Creed. Whether it is the body that we were born with will rise again, or our teenager body, the adult body, or the body that we died with, we do not know. But it will be resurrected together with the soul."
It is this belief or this faith that sustains me, that sustains my family. In death and in resurrection the body will be gloried, just as Fr Joel said, for it will be finally united with its Maker, with God.
Thus when we come to think of it, Death is not actually such a bad thing; for it maybe the end of Life, it is also the beginning of Life. 15 th October was when Mommy passed away, it was also my birthday. It may have been the saddest birthday I had, it was also comforting in a way, as it was also the day my Mother had her re-birth, and so we say, we share the same birth dates.
We are consoled by the beautiful life that Mommy lived. And we are so grateful for her love for us. During the wake, a lot of people came to us and told us she and my father were lucky that they had us. But what is actually true is the opposite: we are fortunate and blessed that she was our Mommy; that we had her and Papa.
Thank you all for sharing our grief.