Letting go of the dead
"You have to let them go."
They mean well in saying this (usually) and it makes sense in some ways, psychologically.
But, taken by themselves, these words may be far from comforting.
"Let them go? Someone who has filled my life and my heart? You want me to rip them out of my chest and 'let them go' into oblivion? And when it's my turn, there will be someone else saying the exact same thing - 'You have to let them go' and then I get pushed off into the darkness: unremembered forever."
Our faith says something different: different meaning and different words.
We must let go, but we do not let our loved ones go into dark oblivion and unremembrance.
Today's Commemoration of All Souls and the readings provided for Masses for the Dead remind us of what is true and what gives comfort.
We let our loved ones go into the hands of a loving God by the power and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The souls of the just
are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
in the view of the foolish,
to be dead;
and their passing away
was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us,
But they are in peace....
Those who trust in him
shall understand truth,
and the faithful
shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy
are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.
(Wisdom 3:1-3, 9)
Everything that the Father gives me
will come to me,
and I will not reject
anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven
not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything
of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son
and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.
Dear Lord Jesus, give them rest.
Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.
(adapted from an earlier post)