Grief and Loss / Savor Lent Savor Life 2013

Holy Saturday, Savor Life

Holy Saturday

It is time. For seven years, I’ve been in the tomb of my son’s death by suicide. Every day I’ve chosen life, in a small or significant way. Until recently, I did not understand how completely I’ve still been in the tomb of grief and healing since January 24, 2006. A necessary time. Today, Holy Saturday, is an appointed time to shift.

Nothing is the same. Nothing will ever be the same. Not my marriage of seventeen years (which died in a divorce two years ago). Not my childhood dream of being a mother of a family. Not any of it. At fifty, I’ve sat in the dark tomb, long. enough. I’ve healed, scar-gazed, made sense of nonsense and brightness, and now, accompanied by the God of my heart, who suffers with me, and the multitude of friends who walk with me, greet me, but never really knew my suffering and depth of joy and loss–how can we know someone else–we only know ourselves, our own story, and compassion.

I didn’t write “Day 40” of this Savor Lent, Savor Life retreat, or reflections during Holy Week. See, the truth of it is I’ve been on my own journey these 40 plus days. God is trying to get through to me through these daily blog posts. A former student asked me to write them–thank you EP. God issued an invitation to me through her. The institutional church quit making sense years ago when an Archbishop spoke to me harshly and condemned my vision of love for the church, for God’s people. I believe love is more valuable than the law. Every. Single. Time. No matter what.

I wish I could have loved my son more completely, more deeply. I wish I could change the day he died, the day I died with him. I wish, I wish. And my only choice now…turn to grace, turn to light. Allow God to Easter new hope, desire, longing, vulnerability, courage, in me. Deeper than ever before.

I ache. I’m not alone. I’m sure you do too–in ways private and personal to you.

I invited God into my life this Lent, to savor life ever more passionately. God said yes, now I must choose. Can I, will I, leave this tomb? The clock ticks.

Today I will savor in my heart … I desire fullness of life in the present and future. God is with me.

The Burial of Jesus

“After this, Joseph of Arimathea,
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day;
for the tomb was close by.” – John 19:38-42

Photo: Justin’s fort cave, Talking Rock Ranch, northern Colorado on the Wyoming border.


3 thoughts on “Holy Saturday, Savor Life

  1. I’ll never forget the first time I met him we became friends right away…. Then he left and so did I we lost contact until high school rolled around and I swear we had every class together and getting to see him and get to know him again after the years of not seeing him was surprisingly easy for me cause he was the first boy that was my friend and I knew I could trust him…… As time went by not only did I trust him but I fell in love with him yes i loved him i didn’t tell him though cause I didn’t think I would make him happy and I was in relationship already but Justin was not fond of my boyfriend at all it was funny cause he worried all the time for me and boy was he right that guy did turn out to be the worst man I ever knew but it’s ok now I left him eventually, but I haven’t forgotten about Justin ill never forget how cold and dead the school felt when I walked in and before the teacher even said Justin has passed I knew it already cause I hadn’t seen him for awhile and all I could do was scream “No,no no” so loud my heart died I couldn’t bear the pain of not having him in my life the thought of not laughing with him in class and no longer sitting right next to him just killed me and for about a year this went on crying about him swearing to god I saw him walking by trying to tell myself it’s not true until my senior year when I got sick with mono I got so so sick and I remember coming home from the doctors and I was laying in my bed and I started to breathe heavily and started to not be able to get up or call my mom for help I thought for sure I was gonna die it was bad so I began to cry cause I felt so helpless I couldn’t move and I was so hot and soaking wet all I wanted was help and I couldn’t ask for it then suddenly I looked over at my door and a dark figure walked in and I thought o crap the angel of death does exist and this figure sat on my bed and I said to it ” I’m dying that’s why your here” and the figured replied ” your not dying your just really sick carissa” and within seconds I knew who it was I said “Justin?” And he replied with “Yes” and I cried and told him “I’ve missed you so much ppl try to tell me your dead but your not” and he said ” I’m not dead to you cause you think about me, and I’m sorry I left I just wasn’t well” and I told him I understood so before he left my room I was complaining to him that I was so hot it was hard to breathe and without touching me he took his hand from the top of my head to down to my toes and suddenly I was cooled down and as I began to fall asleep he said to not stress anymore and that he is ok and I watched him walk out the door and I just fell asleep. When I woke up I asked my mom ” did you come in my room and talk to me?” And she replies ” no why, but I heard you talking to someone” and I said ” yes mom Justin my friend visited me and he cooled me down I swear it happened mom” and she believed me. Well after that day I suddenly stopped crying over so much cause I knew he wanted me to move on and not be stressed out and I did but I still think of him and the laughs we shared. I know you will probably think im crazy but I know what I saw sick or not he visited me.

  2. Carissa, THANK YOU for sharing your story. I totally believe you–what a gift you received. Justin surely cared for you so much. I trust your experience, and have heard stories from several other people where he came at really critical times for them. These stories deeply move me, and I really appreciate hearing them! I too have had many, many experiences of him, so I know this to be true.
    I am so sorry for your sorrow. So, so sorry. I wish I could have given you a hug–I send you one now.
    I think Justin desires that everyone who loves him has no stress, delights in life, plays, and makes great choices. I know he wants me to play more often, and not be sad. Mostly, he wants me to laugh–sounds like that’s his hope for you too.
    Please keep in touch with me–I’d like to hear where your life leads.
    Blessings, and THANK YOU for sharing. It came at a special time for me.
    Much care,

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