In Memoriam


Bertie Love, Requiescat in Pace

This morning, my loving, tenacious, passionate grandmother passed away in the rest home. I recently wrote about her in a blog titled, “On the Shoulders of Giants”. Grief prevents me from writing much now, so I will borrow the poignant words of Frederick Buechner:

“How they do live on, those giants of our childhood, and how well they manage to take even death in their stride because although death can put an end to them right enough, it can never put an end to our relationship with them.  Wherever or however else they may have come to life since, it is beyond a doubt that they live still in us. Memory is more than a looking back to a time that is not longer; it is a looking out into another kind of time altogether where everything that ever was continues not just to be, but to grow and change with the life that is in it still.  The people we loved.  The people who loved us. The people who, for good or ill, taught us things. Dead and gone though they may be, as we come to understand them in new ways, it is as though they come to understand us – and through them we come to understand ourselves – in new ways too.  Who knows what ‘the communion of saints’ means, but surely it means more than just that we are all of us haunted by ghosts because they are not ghosts, these people we once knew, not just echoes of voices that have years since ceased to speak, but saints in the sense that through them something of the power and richness of life itself not only touched us once long ago, but continues to touch us. They have their own business to get on with now, I assume – ‘increasing in knowledge and love of Thee,’ says the Book of Common Prayer, and moving ‘from strength to strength,’ which sounds like business enough for anybody – and one imagines all of us on this shore fading for them as they journey ahead toward whatever new shore may await them; but it is as if they carry something of us on their way as we assuredly carry something of them on ours. That is perhaps why to think of them is a matter not only of remembering them as they used to be but of seeing and hearing them as in some sense they are now”

The Sacred Journey, pages 21-22 (emphasis added)