Friday, March 18, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Mimi

Death, the greatest evil that humans can ever experience came to my grandmother Nancy last afternoon. When I heard earlier this week that she was dying I went to the chapel.  I did not know where else to go. Some may expect a person who is entering religious life to piously thank God for the passage of a beloved family member into eternal life but this was not my response. Deep grief and intense pain was all I felt. As I blindly felt my way around in the abyss of despair that evening, I questioned everything, including the existence of God.

Some may be shocked at this reaction, but I think that when one enters into the reality of death and experiences the evil of it, one is shook to the core. Death is not beautiful. Eternity with God beyond death is beautiful, but life being snuffed out is not beautiful. God is life. Death, like sin does not have its origin in God.

When death happens to someone we love we question God. He is omnipotent, why did He allow life to include this gruesome reality?

I am comforted by the response I found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question ... There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil. (CCC, 309)

This answer may seem like a cop out to some. The Catechism has an amazing way of summing up the mysteries of life and faith with clear ease and I expected a neat and tidy paragraph responding to my pain. But I was left with something better. Go back into your faith the Catechism was saying. Live your faith to the fullest. It is only in your Christian faith that you will find an answer.

My grandmother was 90 years old. She lived a beautiful life and in her last years she was pure love. God truly transformed her as she made her way to meet Him. He prepared her for meeting Him by giving her a heart that loved like a child, with vulnerability and depth.

I do not know where my grandmother is now. The only thing I know with absolute assurance is that there is a God. I know this God. And I give her to Him with trust and hope. I give her to Him with the knowledge that my God is the God of resurrection. My God is the God of life.

Goodbye Mimi.


  1. You were so blessed to watch the transformation of your Mimi - she became such a loving happy woman in her last several years of life. I can see Jesus opening his arms wide to hold her and comfort her - surely he accepts us where we are in life and must have been so pleased with the love that your Mimi deserved and received from all of you.

  2. Yes, it is true Aunt ME, thank you so much for coming with Uncle Pat. I was very touched that you both came to the memorial. Love you!!