How my son inspired me to start a grief support advocacy

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““My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?”

I can easily relate to one of the last words of a dying Christ.

Who has not, at some dark hour, cried out to the heavens in anguish and pain and wondered if indeed we have been cursed and abandoned by God ?

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Image taken from Luijoe’s prayer book

The image of a dying Jesus Christ , a sorrowful Mother Mary and a comforting John never fails to bring me tears as poignant memories of my son drift into my mind. I wrote this story when I first started this blog 4 years ago and I think it is worth sharing again.

Being a “cafeteria Catholic” my religious faith was at best mediocre. Luijoe, my innocent and religious 6 year old son often chastised me for not praying hard enough . I felt like a terrible mother who led a ho-hum religious existence. Gosh, we learn so much from our children , don’t we? It is Good Friday , one of my treasured memories that remind me of my son. The image of the dying Jesus when he blurted out ” ““Woman, behold thy son… Behold thy mother” struck a chord in my son’s heart.

Luijoe was struck at the image above and I thought all the while he was saddened at the dying Jesus.

Every night, Luijoe pointed to that image asking me over and over again what it meant. He pointed to John the Beloved “Who is he? How is he related to the Mother of Jesus?” Strange he asked about John and not the dying Jesus, I pondered. I cuddled Luijoe in my arms and explained that the dying Jesus wanted John the Beloved to take care of his grieving mother.

How was I to know that my own son would die the following weeks? During the funeral, I recalled those last words and took it literally to mean that my family or my friends would take care of me in my bereavement, that there would be “John the Beloved” who will help me.

When a death as devastating as the loss of a child hits you, one tries to find meaning. One tries to make sense out of it. The time came when I realized that those last words were not about me. It was about me helping those who are in pain , because the grief journey is not easy. My son made sure that I would not be alone in this journey as long as I continue to help others through the grief support advocacy of The Compassionate Friends. He made sure I remembered to be the “John the Beloved” and be compassionate to other people’s pain.

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He who was nailed to the cross, wanted to spare His mother further pain—- not only for that moment, but for her entire future. He put her in the care of the apostle whom ““He loved” and whom He knew would care for her in return. Even as Jesus was dying, He went beyond himself to addresses someone else’s need.

One of the last words of a dying Christ remind me of my son who died so young yet I know he continues to live in me through my work, my actions and devotion.

Luijoe is with me everyday.