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Those Who Mourn

Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She would have been 87. She passed away 10 days ago. I was in my kitchen with my sister when I got the call from my mother telling us that our Abuela (grandmother in Spanish) had passed away. After getting the news, I immediately packed my bags and drove up from New York City to Massachusetts to be with my family.

As a therapist, I often tell people that there is no “right” way to mourn. I, for example, like to keep busy when confronted with grief. So as soon as I got to Massachusetts, I set out to help my mom and her siblings with the funeral arrangements. I picked out a cemetery plot, went to flower shops, compiled photographs, and took on the job of keeping my cousins up to date with funeral information. But after a while there was no more work to be done. All of the funeral arrangements were made and there was very little that could keep me busy. That’s when I noticed the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. It came with the realization that I would soon see my grandmother for the first time since her passing.

When I got to my grandmother’s funeral, I made a point to stay as close to the back of the room as possible and away from her open casket, making sure that everyone had tissues and that the program was running smoothly. But as the service drew to a close, I started to become honest with myself. Perhaps keeping busy was not how I mourned at all. Perhaps it was how I avoided mourning. So I took a deep breath for the first time, walked up to my Abuela’s coffin, and looked at her as she lay resting. And I wept. As I did, I felt the arms of my siblings and cousins envelop me, and we wept together.

As I think of that moment, I am reminded of the words of Jesus:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:14, NIV).

I always thought that the “comfort” that Jesus was referring to was the eternal comfort of when we all get to live with him in heaven. But I know now that those words were meant for us here and now. I know because I sure saw a little bit of heaven in the arms of the ones I love.

Jael Amador writes from New York, New York.

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About Jael Amador

Jael Amador

writes from New York, New York.

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