Great griefs are like great joys: they bend time. My sister died twenty years ago. Sometimes it seems so long ago that mercifully, I can barely remember the details. Other times, those details rush back at me so sharply I have to steel myself for impact.
Suicide does that.
I can smile now at the memory of my sister. I felt disloyal the first time I did that, as though permanent grief could be the only fitting monument to her memory. Time, mercy, and God’s grace have done their work, bit by bit.
For the first time since her death, I am writing about her and about losing her. This is an anniversary, and the time is right. For years, I thought she had taken Easter away with her and left nothing behind but wreckage. Gradually I found that she left me other things: a greater appreciation for the gift of my family, and how to live with gratitude despite wounds that are bone-deep. Those aren’t compensations. They don’t cancel out anything. They are gifts nonetheless.
Continue reading “Grief and Gratitude on Good Friday”
International Women’s Day is upon us again. I see the hashtag du jour is #ADayWithoutWomen, referring to a gender-based strike to show the world what happens when women bow out of work for a day.
They don’t get paid, for one thing. Those of us who don’t work on salary already knew that. To each her own, though. I’ll leave the day-without-women adherents in peace.
There’s another observance going on today, or rather a feast: the feast of St. John of God – “the Waif,” as he is sometimes known. He spent the last few years of his life in unstinting service to the destitute, for the love of God. My Laudate app (I do love certain bits of modern technology) advised me this morning of something the saint said:
“Labour without stopping; do all the good work you can while you still have the time.” Continue reading “Good Works, While There’s Time”