Sometimes, I don’t know what to say when I hear of the devastating loss a family is facing. Being present with a hug, love, compassion, empathy, and support often mean a great deal more than the generic condolences. I pray for the one who’s passed from this life into the next as well as for the comfort and faith of the loved ones that are mourning.
There have been times when the pain of someone else’s loss weighs heavily on my heart. It is most often during those periods that I will ask the Lord to give me a portion of the person’s pain, or at the very least, that He would remove anything from me that would keep me from being a good, holy vessel for His love, mercy, comfort, gentleness, and kindness.
Several years back, a dear friend invited me into her office and closed the door. She burst into tears as she recounted how she had become pregnant and had recently miscarried. I held her as she sobbed, my heart aching as she recounted the events of the past couple months that had been so incredibly painful for their family.
In the years since Kevin and I got married, another couple whose child I was taking care of came home after a routine ob-gyn appointment. I knew something must be wrong when the mother came in wearing sunglasses and went upstairs immediately after entering the house. The father called me into another room, and through tears, told me that they had lost the baby.
A little over a year ago, the head of Human Concerns at our parish called to ask me if I would help a family in a very difficult situation. The father, mother, two school-age children, and their ten-month-old were living in an extended stay hotel, and needed help with childcare and transportation as the mother was pregnant with a daughter the doctors were telling them would not live. I did one of the Readings and also sang “On Eagles’ Wings” with our dear brother in Christ, John, at their daughter’s funeral Mass. I wrote this letter to the parents and gave it to them that day.
Lord, You alone know the depth of our pain and loss. Please open our hearts and minds to Your love, comfort, peace which passes all understanding, and hope even in the midst of mourning. Mary, Blessed Mother, who watched her only Son suffer a bitter agony for our sins, pray for us and help us unite our sufferings to Christ’s so that they might have redemptive value in time and eternity. Amen.