The heart-felt absence of a loved one or a friend is perhaps one of the greatest burdens one can carry through life. But Man has encountered too much death. Man has mourned so often that I believe that the generation of the twenty-first century, has learned all too easily how to avoid it. So much loss of life penetrates our culture today due to violence, that it seems that the loss of a loved one in general, is too often, swept under the carpet.
It’s hard for one today to avoid issue after issue of weekly magazines highlighting the lives and deaths of so-called celebrities and other famous people. Yet, although I don’t know why, it still amazes me when such a story is knocked off a magazine cover because some Hollywood harlot gets pregnant, and apparently the entire country is to be happy for her.
According to Judaism 101* Jewish mourning practices can be broken down into “several periods of decreasing intensity.” It goes on to explain how the mourning periods allow a “full expression of grief,” allowing the mourner to gradually return to a normal life.
A native American mourning practice may include a medicine man or a spiritual leader. In a traditional Native American funeral, the loved one may be honored for two to four days before burial, and embalming is avoided. *
There was even a time here in America that the mourning process was most noticeable in family members, when they would be observed for a period, wearing nothing but black-colored clothes, and with widows’ faces covered by veils.
Sadly, it seems that in this current age, many no longer go through the a true mourning process. We lose a loved one on Friday. We have a funeral on Saturday. We have a family get-together on Sunday. On Monday morning we’re back at our jobs enduring the endless “so sorrys,” and “If there’s anything I can dos.”
I have taken my thought to the extreme here today, to both get your attention and to point out how the 24/7 rush-rush world we live in today makes it difficult for people to mourn real loss.
I propose here today that we need less “get-over-its” and more appreciation for those we love. And no I won’t get through this without bringing up how we may have a tendency hold back our appreciation, gratitude, and love for someone until it’s too late; before we let someone know how we feel.
It has always been evident, in comparison with other cultures, that modern Americans (along with several others) just don’t place the same value on life as we once did.
Let us take, as an example, the deep and spiritual respect that most Native-American peoples have not only toward human life but that of the life that would roam the prairies and forests. They honored and revered the animals which lived alongside them. They didn’t kill for sport. They killed for food. They killed for clothing.
I pray fervently that the Lord touches once again the hearts of man and inclines our hearts to appreciate, respect, and love our friends, our neighbors, our family members now, in the present, instead of waiting until they’re gone, instead of taking them for granted and always assuming there will be more time.
I always observed Nancy to be good-hearted, fun-loving, and family-oriented, when the family was gathered. Nancy was one of my wife’s many cousins and as you may expect, I didn’t really know Nancy personally, all that well. I had only encountered her at a few large family get-togethers. And Again, though not personally, I had known of her three children.
Most of the bits and pieces of what I would learn about Nancy came from simple, passive participation in conversations among her cousins. I honestly can’t say that I have ever heard anyone speak negatively about her. Nancy was my wife’s cousin and the last I heard, she was living with her three children out in Moreno Valley, with her mother and father, Blanca and Arnoldo.
I recall encountering her there several times back in the mid to late nineties, when my brother-in-law, Charlie and I would spend a bit of time out at their place, either camping nearby at Lake Perris, swimming in their pool while Arnoldo barbecued, or spending a bit of time helping them with their home computers. I can recall only pleasant and friendly meetings with her. She always appeared to be happy and enjoyed spending time with her family, including cousins and friends. And while I didn’t know Nancy that well personally, I had grown over the years to know her father Arnoldo. Knowing Arnoldo and Blanca, it was easy to see where Nancy got her fun-loving heart and joy of family from.
Nancy is in my thoughts and while I hope she is with our Lord above, enjoying the everlasting kingdom God promises to His children, to friends and family may I call on Psalms 34:18; “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
My heart and prayers go out to her family, to her sisters, Mayda and Carmen; to her loving father and mother, but especially to the children she left behind; and to their father. I pray that Nancy is with the Lord and I pray for the Lord to comfort her family in their loss.
© 2016 Clayton Moore