Sunday, January 29, 2017

Finding Solace at Church

This is my sharing of grief, loss and the daily act of coping with the death of my loving husband, Kevin. He passed away on June 26, 2016 after a devastating year-long battle with lung cancer that metastasized. 

I went to church this morning. Nothing earth-shaking for most of us. We started going to church again after Kevin was diagnosed with cancer. He was always more devout than me and he found comfort going to Sunday Mass. I am not Catholic, but I appreciated the priests' sermons, messages each time we went. Their messages were generally full of love, caring and forgiving. 

The best Mass was at 9 a.m. because the music was outstanding. At St Frances Xavier Cabrini Roman Catholic Church the organist is known worldwide for his musical skill and talent. And the choir is amazing. Every Mass has it's own mini concert.

Priests and other surrogates from the church visited Kevin and offered prayers everyday when he was in the hospital. A priest called on Kevin while he was home under HOSPICE care.

Since then, after Kevin died,  I've thought about going to church and never made it. For a while the grief made it too hard to do. Kevin never asked me to keep up with church. I made a promise to myself to be closer to Kevin and because I wanted to go. Took me a while to seriously consider it, then I kept missing the 9 a.m. Mass. 

Then yesterday I was told my mother died in her sleep Friday night. She was 92 and had dementia. 

I have the most poignant memories of her from my early years. And a lot of that was associated with church. Whether I wanted to go or not wasn't an issue. For her it is was a commitment she enjoyed. Besides a husband and children, she had my dad's parents to care for and not a lot of time for herself. There was a lot of socializing for her with Sunday school and special occasions. It made her happy. She would belt out hymns all of the way home. So church was an  outlet for her
which I didn't understand until many years later.

So, I went to church this morning. I made myself do it. Even though it was raining, cold and I didn't get up very early,  I pushed myself along. When I parked the car, I thought for a second that I might not be able to go inside without Kevin. Then I realized I am never without him. Of course he will always be with me. I made me go and I am glad I did. 

The music was perfect. A part of the message about true happiness lit up my heart. The priests at this church anyway are careful to relate each part of the sermon to our lives today. And in a good way, not something filled with fear.

The best part was being in this huge room filled with people of all walks of life, age, gender and ethnicity. When I shook hands and shared messages of peace with those around me, it was heartfelt and sincere. I felt welcomed and belonging.  No hate. 

I am sure these parts of church that comfort me,  comforted Kevin when he was ill and needing religious support.  Maybe for mom, church filled a similar need and for that I am grateful.

Rest in Peace Hazel Marie (Pire) Whitney

Thank you for reading my blog posts and for your caring support. --Antsy Nancy

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