Monday, January 17, 2011
Objects of Grief
We grieve the loss of loved ones to death and debility. They are, in that sense, the objects of grief. Yet there are others: anything closely associated with that person in our minds. For example, for the several months during which my mother was sick, declining, and eventually dying, I dreaded phone calls, because they were often bad news. The phone calls from mother, which had been often, eventually ceased. After her death, the phone has a different meaning to me. It can no longer give the bad news. The bad news has come. She is dead. And the phone can no longer bring me the voice of my mother. (She never took up the computer, saying, "I'd waste too much time on it if I had one.")
Mother lived far way, in Anchorage, Alaska--the land of my birth. The distance (and other factors) made it difficult for me to visit her or for her to visit me. She stopped traveling a few years ago. However, we often spoke on the phone, an almost always on Sundays. It was a kind of ritual. And mother was a champion talker. Now Sundays are silent in that way, and lonely.
So the phone has become something very different than it used to be (as have many other objects: photographs, gifts form her and more). The telephone is motherless, as am I. Yet I am not without a loving wife, caring friends, and a faithful God who promises to one day take away every tear from this people. But not yet...