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Catholic Cemeteries: When someone you love dies, how do you handle it?

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Nobody can really tell you about grief or grieving. No one can tell you about the depth of love you have for somebody dying or who has died. Nobody, nobody can tell you how to fill the hole at the center of your soul. Death often brings shock. And we are never truly prepared for death’s entrance into our lives.

C.S. Lewis… wrote in A Grief Observed: “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear…The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness. I keep on swallowing. I dread the moments when the house is empty.” C.S. Lewis lost his wife early in their marriage and he himself held on for dear life, so much was he affected by her leaving.

There are too many myths about dying, grief and grieving…

The first myth: “Grieving should never take longer than a few months.” Grieving is personal. No timetable for personal, deep felt emotion. Loss hurts and when loss is sudden, it can take a longer period of time.

A second myth: “You will suffer more in proportion to mentioning the name of the person who has died.” Some of us need to tell stories, need to look through photo albums, need to share personal memories. The loved one never wants to be forgotten, especially by the loved ones in their own life.

A third myth: “Death and grief are somehow contagious.” I know people who refuse to visit somebody who has cancer for fear of ‘catching it.” So we avoid bereaving parents, for example, because we do not want our children ‘getting it’ (whatever the ‘”it” is).

Arthur Ashe… the late tennis champion, wrote the following in a letter to his young daughter, Camera. “When we were together, I loved you deeply and you gave me so much happiness I can never repay. Camera, wherever I am, when you feel sick at heart and weary of life, or when you stumble and fall and don’t know if you can get up again, think of me. I will be watching and smiling and cheering you on.”

In God’s arms… When someone you love dies, God takes over and holds that person in God’s arms until we, who hold our loved ones in our hearts, will once again “take over” with the hugging.

Anointing of the Sick Presentation with the Sacrament
Presenter: Monsignor Joseph Milani
August 27, 10 a.m. – noon
Queen of Apostles – Father Jim Mifsud Community Center
4911 Moorpark Ave San Jose

You do not have to be on your deathbed to receive this healing sacrament, given to baptized Catholics of all ages who are experiencing sickness, injury, old age, upcoming surgery, or physical or emotional problems. The sacrament offers graces of peace and strength to endure the sufferings of an illness, as well as restoration of health according to God’s will.

To learn more about our free workshops and parishes with Bereavement Support Groups, contact Kathy Fanger at (650) 428-3730 x508 or www.ccdsj.org