09 Do not stand at my grave and weep - Vera Alvares

posted Oct 24, 2018, 7:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 7:47 AM ]
On one of our visits to a Home for the Aged, the members of our lay church organisation encountered an inmate of the Home, relatively a newcomer. She was a widow in her early sixties, mother of three married sons. Unable to come to terms with her new way of life in a ‘Home’, she missed her own home and the proximity of her close family. The faraway look and the unshed tears in her eyes spoke of a profound grief that can only be caused by total rejection!

There are others, our dear ones languishing in loneliness, living their deaths much before they are physically dead! Families may have genuine reasons to distance themselves from the older generation, in order to provide them comfort and timely care. A family of four well-placed sons and daughters who migrated abroad in search of a better life for their own children, had shifted their mother to an expensive Home for the Aged. A perfunctory telephone call at Christmas time was all that they owed her in return for sacrificing her life at the family altar. Though able-bodied, sharp-witted and spirited, the uprooted mother withered away into nothingness, giving up the struggle much before her time. One fine day, she bid farewell to the world, leaving her tears and misery behind. The funeral was a grand affair, with her bereaved sons, daughters and their families lining up to receive condolences. Eyes watered, hands trembled, and their voices were choked with grief!

Once a year, Mother Church reminds us to pray for our dear ones, dead and gone to their eternal reward in heaven. On this day, the graveyards see a lot of activity, with mourning families that surround the grave where the mortal remains of a family member were once buried. Lamps are lit, flowers are scattered, and graves are cleaned and decorated beautifully. These neatly laid marble slabs are just physical symbols of someone who was present in our life for a time, like a passing ship in the night! To reflect on this, we need to dwell on one bitter truth - how did I repay that person for contributing to the richness of my life, while he/she was alive?

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