Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Attending Mass

I'm not a religious person. I haven't been to church in years, but tonight I attended mass because my husband's grandmother passed away. We do certain gestures, knowing they comfort others, even if we don't necessarily believe all of what accompanies such ceremony.

Tonight I sat in a beautiful chapel with marble floors, a rustic plank ceiling, sturdy stone walls, and a big stone altar. There were silver vases filled with lilies on either side. Behind the altar, the whole back part of the church was made of glass, so you could look down the mountainside. I must say, it made me feel as if I were gazing over all of creation. It created such a sense of awe and majesty.

The service was lovely. Even though the funeral was last week in Monterrey, we held this one so the people who could not travel could also pay their respects. So much sorrow, so much reverence. It was hard for me to see my mother in law crying, and I kept sending my son to hug her, knowing it's easier to accept comfort from a child. There is a balm in their innocence.

My favorite part of tonight was when the priest had us stand up and clap. This didn't seem standard to me, having attended American services, but maybe it's customary here. At any rate, we stood and applauded for our lost grandmother, celebrating her life in that way, saying she is worthy of our pride and our love and we are better for having known her. It was better and more empowering than anything I've seen before in my life. I'm going to close this now because I'm getting all teary.

How do you remember those you've lost?

1 comment:

Jess Granger said...

My condolences Ann. I remember those I've lost with stories. Our family constantly tell stories about those members we knew and loved. Consequently, I know stories about my great-great aunts and uncles, and I'll still pass them on to my children.

But I'll tell special stories about my Grandmother, how she taught me to cook, watched old Fred and Ginger movies with me, knitted the most amazing sweaters, even after her hands froze with arthritis, and managed to raise her three kids after losing her husband far too young.

Love you, Grandma!