good grief

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Mom’s cancer, with relentless, rapacious appetite, spread from her lungs to her brain, then to her brain lining. Her decline, swift, over the sparest number of weeks, and savage, instant by inexorably passing instant, stripping her of bodily function and proffering only pain.

On April 28, 2017, Geneva Theodosia Reynolds Mack Watkins, the mother of my wife, my mother in law, a proverbial force of nature, yea, verily, nature itself in the immensity of her love, died.

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Since then, I have watched and continue to watch Geneva’s daughter, my wife, Pontheolla, grieve, embracing her sorrowing, weeping heart and soul…

through those initial moments of her acknowledgement of the inevitable; the oncologist saying those dreaded, yet essential and candid words, “There is nothing more we can do”…

through the calling of family members and friends, receiving, responding to their questions, “How?” “When?” “Why?”, accepting, answering their expressions of concern with a  gracious “Thank you”, a slight and earnest nod, a sympathizing falling tear, soon followed by a pitying flood…

through the planning of mom’s funeral, truly, justly a celebration of her life supremely, freely, fully, faithfully well lived; the testimonials from persons from ev’ry path of her earthly being and doing; the songs of praise and the prayers to God, all bidding, believing in her gladsome greeting in the heavenly habitations…

through engaging mom’s affairs – initiating probate, closing accounts, and cleaning her home, sorting through the years of the daily accumulations of living, but more, existentially, spiritually, moving through her space still warm and welcoming with the manifold memories of times spent luxuriating in the wealth of her hospitality…

and through every day and counting since, Pontheolla hails as blessed her ev’ry reminiscence, honors as the bounty of her holy sorrow her ev’ry tear, holds fast to her ev’ry thanksgiving for the nonpareil grace of God incarnate in the life and love of her mother…

Hers is good grief.

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a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 16, Saturday, March 18, 2017

my-hands-2-27-17Note: As a personal, spiritual discipline, I write a prayer for each of the forty days of Lent; each petition focusing on a theme, truly, relating to a care or concern weighing on my mind and heart, at times, vexing my soul and spirit…

On God’s confounding Love:[1] O God, Your Love confounds me. You confound me.

In Love, You give me the breath and strength of life…

In Love, You grant me the sun’s shine to brighten my days and the star’s light to delight me in the dark of night…

In Love, You bestow upon me a mind to think of You, a heart to feel You, a soul and spirit to seek You, and hands to serve You…

In Love, You surround me with the fellowship of family and friends alway to care and to comfort me, at times, to challenge and to confront me…

In Love, You continuously pour out bounteous blessings, seen and unseen, known and unknown by me, and all beyond my power to name or to number.

All this surpasses mine merit. Yea, even when I, in the vanity of my human hubris, would want to claim some (any!) deserving for myself, You love me. When I am at the best of my being and doing, all still far short of Your worthiness (as I, in my human limitations of knowledge and wisdom, would value it), You love me. When I am at my worst, surely the depth (and height and breadth) of my unworthiness, You love me.

O God, I am left with but one reckoning. You love me. In this, I find my worth. Amen.

Footnote:

[1] For a related post, see a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 1, Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017, On the incomprehensibility of the Divine