Can we feel joy after the death of a loved one?
Haunted by thoughts that her mother would someday no longer be with her, a woman found that seeing her mom the way God sees each of us brought peace and a conviction that the good we bring one another comes from God and can never be lost to God or to each other.
Have you ever been so attached to someone that you couldn’t imagine living without him or her? I felt that way about my mother, the most unselfish and loving person I ever knew. People of all backgrounds enjoyed being around her because of the way she made them feel – worthy and respected as children of God.
As my mom was getting on in years, I found myself wondering what life would be like without her. Because I simply couldn’t imagine it, I thought I might fall apart when the time came. So I went to her one night and said, “Mom, I don’t know what I’m going to do when you’re gone.” She said to me, “Well ... where do you think I’m going?!”
We both burst out laughing, and the exchange prompted me to look at things differently. “Repent” is a term that Jesus used often, and means “to think differently” (“Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible”). Jesus’ teachings and example urge us to see with our innate spiritual sense, rather than unquestioningly accepting what we perceive through the material senses. This different way of seeing things, this God-centered perspective, brings healing and salvation.
This made me think about what it is that I loved about my mom. While I treasured her physical presence, she was so much more than that. I loved the Christlike qualities she expressed, such as love, compassion, understanding, humility, faith, joy, and hopefulness. I knew from my study of Christian Science that those qualities didn’t originate in my mom, but were rather expressions of her true nature as a child of God – the true, spiritual nature of each of us.
And, therefore, those qualities I so loved in my mom could never disappear. With God, infinite Love and Life, as their source, such qualities are ever present for every one of us to feel and express. In the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy speaks of God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. My mom, in her true, spiritual identity, would always be with me. God’s children can never be lost to God or to each other.
As I prayed with these ideas, fearful anticipation of my mother’s passing no longer haunted me. And when she did pass on some time later, I found myself not grieving, but filled with gratitude to God for her having been such a great example of Christly love in my life. I was able to feel joy in cherishing the blessings she had brought. And in striving to express those God-given qualities myself, I felt my mom right there with me. I still do, every day.
Whatever spiritual qualities we most love in someone, we can trust that they will never leave us. Life in our loving, ever-present Father-Mother God can never truly be lost. And those treasured qualities are eternal and inherent in all of us to express, appreciate, and enjoy.