These past two years my family has gone through a lot of loss. My great aunt died recently of COVID and I did the funeral. My grandmother died last year at the age of 91 and I did the funeral. Not long after that, my grandfather had a heart attack. We almost lost him too. He has recovered mostly. I had to bury my cousin who died of a drug overdose back in November. That unfortunately is the second time I had to bury a cousin from a drug overdose. My brother was hoping to move back to Cincinnati and we all were hoping for that too. That unfortunately fell through. There has been a lot of loss in my family recently. As I write this I worry about being too open and vulnerable but that is how we grow in trust.

Loss and grief come in many ways. Every time we have a loss in our life, that brings grief. It can be from a loss of a loved one. From losing a job. A child or family member may move away. A child moves away to college or to another city. Many things in life bring about loss and grief. The list is endless because of the many different types of loss.

The transition we are going through right now also brings loss and grief. The way a parish has run for many years is now being forced to do things differently. The first thing I would say is it is ok to feel upset about it. We are allowed to have feelings and emotions. We must allow ourselves to feel this way so we can deal with them. The more we don’t deal with feelings, the more they stay around and fester. This keeps us in the same spot in what is called the neutral zone. This is where we don’t want to acknowledge the new reality, and stay where we are.

We are allowed to be upset. We are allowed to be sad. At the same time, our loss and grief also helps us to heal and be open to new possibilities and opportunities. The Israelites stayed in the desert for 40 years because of how they found it hard to trust God.

Secondly, I would say that grief is present because of love. Grief is the result of a loss of something or someone that we love. We miss the way things used to be. We miss the person and are only left with the memories.

Thank God for the memories and the love that you have experienced in your life. In the rite of Christian burial we pray the final commendation prayer. It says, “We give you thanks for the blessings you bestowed on us in this life. They are signs to us of your goodness and fellowship with the saints in Christ.” God gives us blessings to help us along our journey.

I pray that we can journey together. I look forward to working with you and praying with you. As I said in my homily last week, home is where Christ is. We have great opportunities to serve the people of God. Please pray for me and the parish staffs, ministers, and the people of this family as we journey in Christ.

In Christ,

Fr. Brian