By Kathy Fanger,
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
One day I was speaking with Father Gary Thomas, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Saratoga, and he said, “Tears heal. It doesn’t matter if it’s been three months or ten years. Everyone grieves differently. Hold onto hope. Your loved one is on their way to Jesus or is with Jesus now. You will see them again.”
Lisa came into the office to RSVP for our Afternoon of Remembrance to honor her mother. I explained that during the Prayer Service, Lisa would be invited to say her mother’s name and one word to describe her. Tears slowly streamed down her face. Tears heal.
“Be the living expression of God’s kindness.” -Mother Teresa
The husband of my friend, Suzanne, died 14 months ago. She recently told me, “I just wanted to be left alone. But then on my birthday, a good friend called. ‘How about coming over for dinner?’ I went. We had a simple, lovely meal. It was so comforting just knowing I was loved and could be myself. Two days later, another friend called and invited me to dinner. They had a birthday cake for me.”
When you receive an invitation – go. Being with others who embrace you helps you Hold onto Hope.
The holidays can bring sadness when grieving a loved one. Below are some simple ideas to observe Christmas in ways that recognize and commemorate both the season and your grief.
- Be gentle with yourself; take time for you – rest, reflect, pray, stay home, or go out for fun.
- Plan and be okay with changing the plan.
- Give yourself permission to let go of certain traditions.
- Agree with family members on how you will celebrate and include the children.
- Ask for help, if you need it.
- Take a walk and enjoy the fresh air or night sky.
- Volunteer your time at church or a local organization.
- Make a financial donation or offer food or Christmas gifts in your loved one’s memory.
- Write a letter to your loved one saying all that is in your heart.
- Light a candle nightly next to their picture.
- At family gatherings, speak of your loved one. Each person can share a special memory, look at photos/videos, maybe include a favorite food of your loved one.
- Offer a special grace or toast at your holiday meal.
- Attend Church services, which can strengthen us and remind us of God’s personal love for us.
- Receive Eucharist and consider the sacrament of Reconciliation – which offers healing and peace.
This holiday season be aware of individuals who are grieving and invite them to spend time with you. Catholic Cemeteries is here to listen and walk with you and your family in times of sorrow. We hope to be of assistance and presence when you need us. We are here to support you now and on through your grief journey. Contact us at (833) 677-9644 or at email@example.com.
Parish Bereavement Ministers’ Training Series
January 9, 16, 23 and February 6, 13, 20; 7 – 9 p.m. Makeup session for one missed class is February 27.
Queen of Apostles – Geary Hall, 4911 Moorpark Ave., San José
Do you feel called to minister to those whose loved ones have died? This is a ministry very much needed in our parishes. Come to this in-depth training series designed for parish staff and volunteers to begin or enrich bereavement support in the parish setting. RSVP by January 3. To register, call (408) 342-1517 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning Your Christian Funeral
January 18, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino Parish, 10110 N. DeAnza Blvd., Cupertino
This workshop will assist you in making choices about your funeral or that of someone close to you. Learn also about the services and options offered at a funeral home and Catholic Cemeteries. RSVPs are appreciated but not necessary.