In that moment my prayer was 'Lord is your cross big enough to accommodate all this violence'. And the answer seemed then as now, to be yes. I was able to let her go, love her and know she would finally be at peace. Psalm 121 was my daily reading on the morning my Mother passed away. And the prayer of St John of the cross, has aided my prayer and reflections.
The funeral took place a couple of days ago, at the Church my mother had found/rediscovered faith in during the last couple of years of her life. At the end my mother was surrounded by her friends and Christian family.
Then the committal/cremation took place with some of my mother's immediate family, who did not want to attend the funeral service for very understandable reasons. It was a strange abutment of those two worlds. As one friend pointed out it was a time of 'complexed grief', being situated within those dynamics, and a host of painful remembrances for many involved.
The weight of friends love and prayers was palpable, and the sense of God's presence within that was so sustaining and comforting. Whilst the cross had become more expansive for me during this time, engulfing the violence of the past and the manner of my mother's dying, at this funeral moment the hope of the resurrection seemed so near and tangible.
And I found such resurrection hope within the stories from my mother's church friends, as they shared their memories of Mum. Stories of a woman of generosity, love, passion and care. That woman was always there, just one that it was hard for me to see in life, due to all the violence and strife. It helped me to see and know that at the end my mother was well loved, well cared for and is now well received through that family in her eternal family.
I realised that this church community, my extended family could see my mother through and in Christ, in a way I could not. It made me appreciate again the body of Jesus, my family, through whom I was allowed a glimpse of who my mother was at her best, and of who she is now fully in Christ. And that small taste of the reconciliation I will have with her, beyond this life and into the next was so melliferous.
And grief has brought me closer to my own family, brothers sifting photos, possessions and memories, and my aunts, and grandparents being so kind, loving and understanding.
So dear friends reading this, thank you all again for your love, and care, for carrying me to cross, and for staying there with me. The body of Christ, the Church of Jesus became my family when I was 17, and these past few days that reality has only deepened, and become more manifest.