Those Left Behind

Death can do many things to those left behind.

If Michael’s death has done one thing it has severed our ties to this earth, for we simply want to be there with him, with God, not a moment delayed nor anything foolish yielded on our end to prevent our own entry into heaven.

I am quite bewildered at how the kids are living this, at their child-like hearts so focused on heaven. At how often they attend confession (it’s right before Mass and always accessible) because they want no stain of sin separating them from the chance to be with their dad. They know, have lived, the spiritual battles surrounding death and that we work out our salvation with “fear and trembling.” That the way is narrow and those who make it are few.

This is no fire and brimstone from their mother or priest. This is the gift of the veil being lifted in their own lives. That their dad is on the other side of it keeps them connected to the reality of death and that we are not created for this earth.

Maximilian commented on the gift that is cancer, that it provides for a prepared for and peaceful death. He now prays every night for a death like his dad’s. The kids see death as their doorway to home, simply wanting it to be holy (and “not too painful “).

Yes, I agree.

Michael’s death has also severed me from anything “down here.” We used to have so many desires and dreams, and maybe it’s also the experience of all the practical loss too, but I long for nothing now other than the Lord’s fulfillment of His confusing and often inconceivable, yet always better than anything, plan. Detached from all things, I can more readily prepare my soul for the new heaven and the new earth awaiting me. Detached from all things, I can live day by day, fulfilling my present duties, in the peace of knowing God has our steps in His Hands.

None of this is easy. When I take my gaze from heaven to the flesh, I begin to pine for even the good things of this earth, of my fully intact family and marriage. But then I lift my eyes once again and I can function because my sights are set on my true home and what lies beyond this passageway.

This detachment is not a coping mechanism. It is a grace that has humbled us to live our lives for our one and only goal: heaven.

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