I didn't realise how hard it would be to do such a simple thing - to light a candle in a church for my Mum and all our loved ones. To have a little moment of reflection and to honour their memory. Though I do it at home every day, I wanted to make it more special. We used to do that with my Mum at every opportunity when passing an open church.
It wasn't just the pandemic that made it difficult. Understandably, all the churches were closed and only open at certain times. So I timed it right and walked to the church my Mum liked visiting. However I hit a wall. The man wouldn't let me in and couldn't even understand what I was trying to do. It wasn't the priest but surely if you are helping or volunteering in a church, you at least try to be nice and empathise with someone who just lost their loved one. Instead, I faced ignorance and refusal. There was no point in trying to explain to him what lighting a candle means. He didn't seem to care at all. I left the church with more heartache instead of being comforted.
I didn't give up though. I tried another church where my Mum and I used to walk together. It was closed as well, however there was a perfect place outside the gates. A cross, a space for candles, and the following reflective thought:
A man was walking through life carrying his cross on his back. He met many other people on the way, each carrying their own cross. Suddenly he started to complain: "Oh God, the cross is too long, allow me, please to shorten it." Then he took a handsaw and cut off a little bit. After a while he thought he couldn't walk on: "Oh God, the cross is too heavy, please let me shorten it a bit more." That carried on for several times until the cross was very short. Then he got to the edge of an abyss and on the other side there was the paradise. He looked around. Other people were using their crosses to get to the other side. However, his cross was too short to span across the abyss. He stood there helpless and desperate, regretting his desire to lighten his burden on the way.
It was a beautiful morning, my favourite time of the day - the blue hour. Bitterly cold, but there was a little bit of snow covering the ground, making the scene even more poignant. Everything was at peace, and I had a little moment to reflect on all the memories my Mum and I shared. I lit three candles, one for my Mum, one for all the closest people we loved and lost - my Dad, Granddad, Grandma, Uncle, Stepdad and my Mum's best friend. The third one for all the living I love and am grateful for having in my life. And all three of them for my Grief, Courage, Memories, Love and Hope:
For my Grief, as the pain of losing you is as intense as my love for you. It is all the love that I have inside and cannot give you any more.
For the Courage to confront the deep sorrow that is left, to find comfort in the thought that you are at peace, in no pain and in a much happier place, with all the people we love. The Courage to change my life and learn how to live without you.
For our Memories of all the times we were happy, we laughed and cried, comforted each other, and for all the moments we shared.
For our Love that we had for each other and that will always be in my heart, thoughts and soul. The bond that we have will never be broken.
For the Hope that you will live on through me, never to be erased from my memory. That one day we will be together again. I will never stop loving you.
On the way back home I found beautiful clusters of snowdrops peeping their heads through the cold ground. I couldn't resist and took a couple of them home. One for my Mum and one for my Grandma. When I lost my Grandma it was a terrible blow, which I never came to terms with. We were so close and we loved each other dearly. As a matter of fact, I never got over losing anyone I loved. But losing Mum cannot be compared to any other loss. It cannot be described by any words. It cannot be understood unless you live through it. And now I know how my Mum felt then, when Grandma passed away. She never got over it, and now I am facing the same storm. I just have the hope that they are now reunited, happy and at peace together again.
The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.
The little one we longed for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
For every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.
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