Articles Archive for December 2011

[26 Dec 2011 | No Comment | ]

My brother-in-law, who has just lost his son and wife, was talking about how difficult it is to care these days about many everyday things, including his work. Yes, after great loss most things seem trivial. I spoke of the process of detachment one often sees in the very old as they progressively feel detached from the things of this world and cast their eyes toward eternity.
I then recalled what his wife, Pamela, had said after Jamie died and before her own sudden passing. “When you lose a child, you …

[20 Dec 2011 | 5 Comments | ]

One of the things I have been wrestling with, given the recent loss of two loved ones, is God’s attitude toward death—and therefore what my own should be. (I know people have written about this but I’m not in a research frame of mind.) My tentative conclusion (not new with me of course) is that God hates death, we should too, and we should be slower than we are to jump to easy phrases like “he/she is in a better place.”
One of the great truths and consolations of Christian faith …

[13 Dec 2011 | No Comment | ]

Planning a funeral or memorial service is a values-clarification exercise–“What was important to him?” It’s also a guessing game of sorts—“What would she want?” Being on the edge of the process these last few days, I think anyone over 18 should plan their own, or at least provide the raw material. Anyone, in a few minutes, can list examples of the music they’d like played, the Bible verses or poems they’d like read, maybe the people they would like to speak (a potential minefield, admittedly), and anything else they’d like …

[7 Dec 2011 | One Comment | ]

(What follows is a continuing reflection on the deaths of Jamie and Pamela Pierre, as in previous postings.)
The room is maybe five feet by ten feet, an enclosed porch actually. It was Pamela’s inner sanctum (for better and worse). It has a couple of chairs, a computer on a tiny desk, books stuffed high and low, and tall piles of magazines, clippings, and printouts from online articles of all kinds. It’s where she went to think and search and smoke and read and think some more and smoke some more. …

[2 Dec 2011 | No Comment | ]

We thought we had entered a season of grief and suffering with Jamie’s death in the avalanche. Now, with the death a few weeks later of his mother Pamela—largely from grief I myself believe—we find this season turning into a long winter. The whole family now feels itself engulfed in an avalanche, like Jamie, carried away from solid ground, battered by primordial rocks and free-falling over cliffs. (I, of course, do not pretend to speak for others.)
Being given to reflection and bookishness myself, I tend to process these things through …