Perhaps the thing we yearn for most when a loved one passes on is to bring them back for just one more day. We yearn to hold them, tell them again how much we love them. This year especially has brought a new form of grief for many who, because of pandemic restrictions, have had to say goodbye to family and loved ones without the added comfort of being by their side . . .
Imagine the joy Christ Jesus’ disciples must have felt when they learned that their Master was not dead but had risen. Jesus did come back—and for more than a day. He shared a joyous reunion breakfast with his disciples, walked and talked with them, and helped them to rise above their grief. Mrs. Eddy explained: “His resurrection was also their resurrection. It helped them to raise themselves and others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into the perception of infinite possibilities” (Science and Health, p. 34).
Easter celebrates the risen Christ, which gives each of us the promise of eternal life. It invites us all to turn from grief to the recognition of those “infinite possibilities.” I certainly had to after my mom passed on. My husband and I had just moved with our young family so I could begin a new job in a new state. We had been living close to my mom and planned to move her nearby after we’d settled into our new home. When a caregiver called me at work to tell me of her sudden decline, I retreated to a conference room for some privacy. There was no time to travel to be with her, so I was incredibly grateful for the caregiver and close friends (all from our church family in the area where she was living) who gathered by her side and stayed with her. With me on the phone, they formed a circle around her, singing hymns and offering prayers of support as she gracefully departed. It felt holy and heart-wrenching at the same time.
In the days that followed, I wrestled with intense grief. I reached out to God for a greater sense of the permanence of my mom’s true, spiritual life and the immortality of her unique identity, which I knew couldn’t be lost. I wanted to rise higher in my spiritual understanding in order to overcome the waves of grief.
As I grappled with concepts of life and death and felt challenged to let go of a purely physical sense of her life, I gradually gained tangible insights into the nature of God as infinite Life and of Life’s infinite expression. I began to resist the strong pull of grief, and I felt a closeness to my mom that was in some ways more tangible than when we’d been together in person. But the grief still hadn’t completely subsided, so I called a Christian Science practitioner for help through prayer. I remember asking her, “How do I know that my mom is OK? Is she safe and happy now?” The practitioner gently reminded me that my mom couldn’t lose her life, since God is eternal Life—“Life that never sleeps” (Fay Linn, Christian Science Hymnal, #237).
“Each life is precious, permanent, and protected.“
I couldn’t see God, but I could still feel the tender ever-presence of our one Father-Mother, God. And even though I couldn’t see my mom anymore, I could still cherish her life and know that she expressed the “Life that never sleeps.”
The practitioner compared it to walking into another room and shutting the door. We might be in different rooms, but neither of us had vanished! The import of her words had a profound effect on my thought, and I could feel my perspective shifting. From the moment I hung up the phone, the grief lost its hold and was replaced with strength and lightness. I felt as though I had just awakened from a dream . . .
Continue reading the original article by Ingrid Peschke published in the Christian Science Sentinel, which gives background about loss experienced by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, and how the writer gained proof of her mental shift when she came to speak at her mother’s memorial service.