Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
When I was a child, I remember reading these words from Christ and being so confused. Blessed are those who mourn…really? I could easily understand how peacemakers and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness could be consider blessed, but mourning being equated to blessedness was beyond my comprehension. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I came to the realization that the reason it is considered a blessing to mourn is because it means we were given the chance to love.
In 2020 it seems we have many reasons to grieve and, in some cases, to mourn. The loss of being able to see your family and friends, loss of being able to walk across the stage at graduation earlier this year, loss of income, loss of the ability to spend time enjoying the normality of just heading out to a restaurant or movie theater without worrying about masks or social distancing, and not to mention, the loss of hugs – I am such a hugger and this has been more than difficult to give up.
My greatest source of mourning came with the loss of my good friend. For the purposes of this blog, let’s call her “Joy.” In June, Joy died of cancer. It’s been almost a year since the last time I was able to attend the Holy Family Institute nights and I still remember that last time seeing her there; for some reason that night she hugged me goodbye twice. She always had a way of knowing when I needed a hug and I can still hear her voice offering encouragement. She was so happy, had just gotten engaged, and was excitedly planning for her future.
It was just a year ago when Joy and I were making plans to go to New York City to see the beauty of the Big Apple at Christmas time…ice skating in Rockefeller Center, a carriage ride through Central Park, looking at the displays in the store windows, and maybe even going to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall… lots of dreams that we weren’t able to see come true last year when the cancer diagnosis became a reality. Of course we made the usual promises of going next Christmas having no idea what 2020 had in store for us.
The pandemic made all chances of visiting impossible and on June 25th Joy went home to our Lord. It wasn’t until today that some friends and I were able to go to her grave and pray and mourn together. We lit candles in her memory, told stories, laughed about the good times, and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. My daughter said most perfectly what I felt in my heart to be true, “Joy is smiling down at us right now.”
I will continue to pray for those who are also mourning, do what I can to protect my loved ones and everyone with whom I come into contact, and say some extra prayers of thanksgiving every day for the magnitude of Love with which God has filled my heart – even if the promise of one day mourning accompanies those blessings.
Christine Dufresne has been a Promised Pauline Cooperator for 5 years. Originally from New Bedford, MA, she served at a mission in Kentucky for 16 months before moving back to MA where she currently lives in Norwood. In addition to being a foster parent, she has been working with children in various ways for the past 25 years, helping with the children’s program on retreats and with the Holy Family Institute group in Boston, and is currently a nanny for several families. She serves as a Eucharistic minister in her home parish of St. Catherine’s in Norwood. Most recently she has completed her studies and is awaiting graduation with her Bachelor’s in Psychology/Human Services. She has embarked on latest part of her journey to adoption from foster care of a sweet seven year old little girl. God is Good!!!