Saturday, November 26, 2005

Back (from the funeral) in Ottawa

I wanted to officially state that I am back and that I really have appreciated all of you and your prayers as I went to my Grandfather’s funeral. It was hard—not only the 2 days of traveling each way—but the business, the lack of all things Orthodox (I did go to my church on Sunday morning though) and of course the loss of my Grandfather. It was not until I saw my Grandfather in a private viewing before the funeral that it really seemed real; not that I had not cried before this but that seeing my Grandfather’s hands—big and used to using tools—that I realized the depth of shock and disbelief that grief brings.

I have printed out the two entries I made about my Grandfather on this blog and the comments; my cousin Bryan, who is like a brother to me through his friendship, is in the peace corps and is on the other side of the world and could not be there for the funeral. I will be sending a copy of your care and prayers to him. (When we both lived in Michigan two years ago both of us made St. Nicholas our church home). I am really comforted by Victoria’s comment about still missing her Grandfather—that it is acknowledged that the loss does not somehow disappear after time—and the hugs from many—and Neo telling me that at vespers my Grandfather was prayed for in a prayer to the Theotokos.

When I am in the quiet of my house (studio apartment) is when I realize how much I miss my Grandfather and that I am in mourning. Even so, this is verse that I read this morning from my more Protestant-based daily flip calendar, from the paraphrase “The Message”…

“[Jesus] comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

I talked with a good friend of mine from library school yesterday who lost someone who was like a mother to her and one of her best friends. The grief she is going through is deep…and that we could talk about it, and about what Phil told me, that we were not made for death or to experience the death of others.

I think this should become one of my prayers—that as I mourn that I can be used to comfort others as they go through the deep waters of grief and loss.

Thank you all again for your prayers, how blessed I am to belong to communities like this one.


Matthew Francis said...

Thanks for your words, Elizabeth. May God continue to be with you and grant you peace in your grief. And may He grant your grandfather rest with Him. Memory eternal!

That line from the Message version of 2 Corinthians reminded me so powerfully of how our God does sometimes indeed "come alongside" us in times of need.

Neo could speak of this better than I, but in the Greek language the two words said all the time:
"Evcharisto" - Thank you... and "parakalo" - said like we say "Your welcome," but it literally means "I'm coming alongside you," ,"I'm with you," "I stand in solidarity at your shoulder." And this is of course the word that John uses for the Holy Spirit... the God who "comes along side us" in our time of need.

We'll continue to pray. When is the forty days?

elizabeth said...

thank you for your kind words. i really appreciate what you wrote. does the 40 days include the day my Grandfather died? he died Nov 17. the 40 days may be dec 27, but i am not sure. thanks so much for your prayers.

Matthew Francis said...

Yes, I think it's from that day. I'm not sure. May God continue to be with you and bless you.

Simply Victoria said...

May God grant him rest where all His blessed Saints repose, and where the light of His countenance shines forever.

ps:i like that paraphrase (i actually own the message, it's useful when teaching old testament studies to gr.5&6 girls i've found:)

kimberley said...

i like "the message" sometimes too.

and i like "i'm with you", "I stand in solidarity at your shoulder".