My uncle lives with dementia in a care home in the north west of England. He has received only a handful of visits since March. He now has Covid. Two pairs of gloves and full PPE are required to visit him for a maximum of half an hour a day. This is just one story among thousands. Stories of grief and sorrow, stories of unknowing and ‘if onlys’. The dignity and endurance of relatives is admirable. The suffering is unimaginable. What do we do with so much sorrow? Where do we find comfort? In the Beatitudes today we hear the tantalizing and reassuring words ‘Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted’.
At All Saints and All Souls we remember with thanksgiving those who have died over the past year, those we love but see no longer. Great grief and great love are two sides of the same coin. We do not grieve what we do not love. Life is about spending that coin. Loving with all our heart, grieving what is lost along the way, and loving more. Our love is a precious fragile gift that wounds us but also returns to us, in unexpected places, as a blessing. I would far rather mourn the loss of a great love, than have no love to grieve.
Over Christmas and into January we are looking to restart our bereavement support group at St Martins for anyone who feels a sense of grief of any kind. Email me, Catherine.Duce@smitf.org, if you would like to join this group or learn more about it. Meanwhile, let us live holding all that we love lightly and tightly. Lightly enough that it may take its own path, tightly enough that it never doubts our love. This is a spiritual practice. It is a daily struggle. It is a daily joy.
Revd Catherine Duce