It has been three and a half years since my mother passed away.
A few weeks ago my father wanted to visit my mother’s grave. In the first year after she passed, I had tried several times to get him to go.
His way of dealing with grief was avoidance.
I would ask him if he wanted to bring flowers to her grave. He wouldn’t hear me.
I would ask again. He would change the subject.
I would ask again. No response.
On the first anniversary of her death, I bought a small pot of pansies and asked Bud to drop my father and I at the cemetery before church. Slowly we started down the path, but when it came time to turn towards the Columbarium, my father picked up his pace and headed straight for the church.
Alone I set the flowers I had bought for her at the base of the Columbarium,
Blessed are those who grieve.
Jesus said, Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
The difference between grieving and mourning is this: grief is private, but mourning is the outward expression of grief that allows a person to move forward.
Grief is the emotional reaction to a loss, while mourning is learning to live again.
Grief muddles the mind, but mourning begins to put things back in place.
Grief is the raw emotions that say things will never be right again.
Mourning reflects on what was and what will never be again, and then works to deal with that void.
About a month ago, my father asked to bring flowers to my mother’s grave.
“Can I see where she’s buried?” he asked.
He didn’t remember ever going there before, so I showed him pictures from her interment.
The avoidance had finally passed. He was ready.
I purchased a bouquet and tied an orange ribbon on it. My mother always liked orange.
We drove to town and I parked as close as I could to the Columbarium. He picked his way along the dirt and gravel path that led there, struggling with his walker, while I struggled to hold the bouquet and keep my arm supporting him.
Silently we stood before the gray granite corner of the Columbarium.
“Is this it?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, and showed him my mother’s name carved in the granite.
“Can you take a picture of it?”
Blessed are those who grieve, for they have loved deeply.
And blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.