Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stuck in a Moment

My mother died one year ago today.

I honestly didn't think that I would be affected so by this anniversary...but I find myself very down. Flat affect, as they say. I usually enjoy, if that is the correct word, Holy Week...but this year I just don't care; I don't feel anything. I'm not blogging because I have nothing to say.

We wound up not going to Palm Sunday services, muchly because the thought of contending with loud, misbehaving children fencing with cardboard palm fronds and otherwise coopting the worship was a little more than I could handle. I'm going back and forth about our Maundy Thursday service, which involves a stew-and-bread meal incorporating the Eucharist -- partly because there are some dietary issues in our household that will make the menu problematic for us, but partly because...well...novelty isn't something that makes me feel comfortable this week. I don't want to be a part of a performance art installation or small-group experience. I want to be an anonymous worshipper in the back of a church, in a by-the-book service where I don't have to be "on" in any way.

I just don't feel very good. And as I'm not feeling good I'm bracing for the online criticism that Holy Week isn't about me, it's not about feeling good, do I think it was a picnic for Jesus, what is the matter with me anyway, stop whining and get with the program.

Yeah, well.


Mata H said...

In a week where I think even God must feel remembered grief at the death of His son -- you are in good company with the grief you feel for your Mom. What is ordinary and familiar can be a huge comfort, and it is right that you seek comfort. This hurts. There is a huge difference between "whining and not getting with the program" and feeling real sorrow. You have a right to your grief. And if anyone tells you otherwise, they are just plain wrong. You won't get over it until you travel through it. To just suck it in will make it get all weird and twisty inside.
You know the truth of Easter. That doesn't mean you can't miss your Mom, or feel sad about being orphaned.

Quotidian Grace said...

You won't get any criticism from me. I understand. For years I felt the same way during Advent because my father died very suddenly right after Christmas.

May Easter Sunday bring renewal to your spirit.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Mata and Quotidian Grace. Real grief happens when it happens. May God be with you in your sorrow.

don't eat alone said...

I'm reading a poem in the funeral service of the mother of a friend of mine. Her mother died two days before my friend's birthday. Grief is above criticism. Those who criticize are usually those who have yet to walk that road significantly. You are in my prayers.


chartreuseova said...

Well, yeah.

The not-so-nice (ok, judgemental) line I've been repeating lately is "If it ain't a party or puttin on a show, we (our local church) don't wanna do it."

I do happen to think Holy Week is about me. And you. And billions of other people. And Jesus.

What it shouldn't be about is programs for the sake of programs. That may or may not be happening at your church, but it is one of my issues. We as a church can make it too much about us with religi-tainment (I'm sure that there is a proper word for that) and overdone novelty.

I do think that most of Jesus' followers were anonymous (or trying to be) during Holy Week. They were quietly preparing for Passover.

And while there were crowds (no not really at this tiny church) and palms and loud, misbehaving children singing and getting applause on Palm Sunday, my daughter and I stayed home too. She didn't want to be part of the show. I enjoy a show now and then but I respect & support her. She doesn't need to be told to "get with the program."

I went through a struggle at the beginning of Lent. Someone told me to do Lent as the Holy Spirit led me. And I tell you the same...there will be time for the community, for the meals, the performance art the rest of the year. For now, honor Jesus and your mother with your very appropriate grief.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

P.S. an after-thought said...

No criticism here. I've been wondering when you will look up and see the cloud that hangs over you, still hangs over you, for the past year. I've been able to see it in your writings.

Maybe you could attend another church, perhaps an RC church, and sit in the back for Thursday.

I have mixed feelings about the palms and the children on Passion Sunday. Sure, we are trying to picture what happened and "show" this to the children, etc. But I thought the point was that the crowds missed the point.

Kirstin said...

No criticism from me. You need space to grieve, and I hope that will be honored by those around you. Do what you need to do; God doesn't need, want, or expect a performance. I hope that you can find solace, healing, and peace.

My prayers are with you.

Jody said...

People would actually make those criticisms? Ick.

I haven't lost a parent yet, but for my mother, the first anniversary of her mother's death was a bigger moment than she expected. The probate was done, the cremains were interred, and there were no more firsts (first Christmas without Mom, our first time remembering Mom's birthday without her, etc.) to keep her alive in a particular sort of way. And my mom and her mom had a rough relationship, to put it mildly.

There are enough people in the world looking to beat you up without you taking on their criticisms. God's mercy surely has to extend to your practices and observations, or lack publicly thereof, during this Holy Week.

cheesehead said...


Verdugo said...

I lost a baby on Maundy Thursday 12 years ago. It still hurts. My husband and I have gone thru all sorts of different patterns over the years in terms of dealing with loss-- sometimes needing the intimacy of close friends to share our memories, sometimes needing the anonymity of a crowd of strangers to allow us to grieve in peace w/o the inevitable, well-meaing but intrusive "how are you doing?"

Lent may not be all about you, but grieving is. Take this time to care for yourself, to do what brings comfort and allows you to feel what you're feeling when you're feeling it w/o judgment.


Teri said...

to those who say "get over it" I say "a plague on your houses." Holy Week is a time of grief and sorrow, and this anniversary and the feelings of the first year are important for you. As one who had the first anniversary a few months ago, I can tell you that plenty of people think I should be over it but my therapist seems to think I haven't even started. oh boy.

many prayers for a holy week filled with holy moments, and for a remembrance that sorrow is just as holy as joy.

Reverend Dona Quixote said...


What they said.

LC, I chose this year to make Good Friday all about me, an opportunity to deal with a different kind of grief from yours, but grief nevertheless, so that I am NOT doing a service for either of my churches.

I'm trying to decide between 1. attending the ecumenical service at the bigger city where you often shop 2. attending a Good Friday RC Mass anonymously or 3. Staying at home, listening to the Rutter Requiem, and fasting for the day.

The Simpleton said...


Tom in Ontario said...

Maybe you can drive a ways and find a church that does Maundy Thursday and Good Friday liturgically and you can be anonymous there.

And on Sunday, well, maybe the Alleluias and the proclamation of the empty tomb can provide a glimmer of hope and comfort in the midst of grief.

But I wouldn't chastise you if you decided to stay home either.

LutheranChik said...

The "anonymous" service option looks really good to me right now...there is a two-congregation blended liturgical service in Outer Podunk where there's already an aspect of strangers coming together, where it may be easier to slip in and out of that service.

Just to add another layer of dismay to my day...my dog is sick today; he woke up fine, but became disoriented and lethargic, and FT is taking care of him now. These aren't new symptoms for him, when he's not feeling well; but it is very eerie that he's having a bad "spell" on this of all days. (No, he doesn't eat any of the suspect dog food brands.) The last I heard he was wrapped up in his favorite fluffy blanket on his stepmom's chest, with his concerned dog stepsisters around him.

RuthRE said...


Grace said...


God fill you with a sense of His constant love, and presence. So sorry that you're having a rough time.

Bag Lady said...

LC -- the first anniversary is so very difficult (and some of the subsequent ones as well). The season of grief doesn't mesh well with church seasons, Mother Earth's seasons, or any other kind of season.

Sometimes the other seasons can be of assistance in helping to pull one back into being, but it does happen in God's own time (I didn't say "the church's time), not in anybody else's time.

Peace be with you.

zorra said...

I am so sorry for your loss, and the way an anniversary can bring it flooding back. I pray that you'll do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself this week, and ignore any pinhead who might dare to criticize you.

Prayers and hugs for the Codeman too.

Rick Weiss said...

Dear Sister

Church is vastly over rated! OH MY! :)

I know how you feel, You have all those C&E people. Its like a show. Oy Veh!

Easter and Christmas never feel to me very holy except.
1. Christmas Mass the Spirit comes and I feel Loved.
2. Easter Vigil service alone at Midnight praying, meditating.

Why do we go to church? really I guess to be there for others, to support others in there times of trouble and to celebrate the good times. But sometimes? I think we need to be alone to Pray, Remember, and Meditate.

This Easter, Im going to watch the Passion Movie before church. SO I will remember the stripes he wore for me.

God Bless to you and I shall also Pray for you.
Rick Weiss

MikeC said...

I hear you completely. Lost my first wife in 1989, a week after losing my mother. And have lost too many family members in the last couple of years. The remaining clan is getting too small.

Kathryn said...

Take as much space and time as you need...You're doing Holy Week more thoroughly than many, I'd guess.
Love and prayers for you (and Cody too) xxx

MikeF said...

'The "anonymous" service option looks really good to me right now...'

Hope it works out!

We get this too - Jan's Dad died on Christmas Day a few years ago - you just can't / can't just 'get with the program' and anyone who suggests you should hasn't been there.

Love & prayers & hugs and all good things to you, Cody and FT...


Cory said...


Actually, yeah, we can be lethargic about Holy Week together! My Lent didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, in terms of resolving anything, and when I look at the Easter Triduum service I wrote for my church (that we're reusing from last year), it's like it was written by a different person.