Walking Through Lent During A Time of Loss

It’s been a bit quiet over here on the blog for the past few weeks. A great sadness entered into my family’s life on February 4th, and it’s taken me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to say. It didn’t seem right to write about anything else besides this, and I felt stuck until I could find the words. But I think I might have some now.

I had a very cool aunt named Jeannine. She used to live in New York City. She was 47 years old. And, due to a very tragic mixture of difficult circumstances and struggles, my very cool aunt chose to end her life on the evening of February 4th.

There has been an ocean of sadness as our family copes with this loss. I have never been so closely touched by suicide, and I hope to never experience this pain again. I know in time the acuteness of the suffering will fade, but the struggle and sadness from this loss will last a lifetime.

We’re left with so many unanswered questions. We know she struggled with addiction, and mental distress, and that she searched for good, but lost herself sometimes along the way. We just never in a million years would have expected it to come to this. We will deeply miss the beautiful person she was, and mourn the memories that will never be made.

Right now, I’m thankful for the moments of good. The snuggles from my kids. An evening eating chocolate and watching a TV show and talking with my husband. A moment at work where I am helpful to a teacher. Writing words.

But in it all, I have not felt close to God. And I think it’s important to be honest about that, because it is the reality of my current situation.

How odd this is all happening during Lent. I told a friend recently that I identify more with Jesus’ 40 days in the desert now than I ever have. Lent feels like a desert to me. Dry and barren and merciless. I see mirages in the distance. Moments when I forget this happened, and imagine my aunt is still out there, somewhere I could visit or give her a call. But, like mirages, the moments fade and in the sunlight, our new reality is blindingly clear.

I may not feel like God is near, I may not feel close to Him. But that doesn’t mean He isn’t there. God doesn’t exist or not exist depending on me.

So, right now, I’m going to Mass. I’m saying prayers. And none of this is because I feel it is true. It’s because I believe it is true regardless of how I feel.

I look forward to the day when I’ve emerged from these tumultuous seas. But it’s a process. And I trust my God is patient. And there. Whether I feel Him or not.

He doesn’t change like I do. And I know He won’t let me go.

On Easter Vigil, I will be at Mass, standing with my mother as her sponsor as she is confirmed into the Catholic Church.

And oh, I hope and pray that the power of Easter Sunday breaks through me. That it finds its way past the numbness and the anger and the pain. That the power of the hope of all things one day being made right will reverberate inside me and settle in my soul. For my aunt, and for us all. The hope that she is at peace, tucked safely in the arms of Love Itself. And that those of us left reeling from this loss will find our way back there as well.

-Lorelei

13 thoughts on “Walking Through Lent During A Time of Loss

  1. Lorelei, I am so sorry for your loss, my heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your pain, I think that is unselfish on your part and will speak to many hearts, I know it did to mine. Prayers and may your aunt rest in the loving arms of Jesus.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. L…
      I am a cradle catholic.
      My wife was raised baptist.
      She, Marcy, is now attending RCIA with me at her side as her sponser. I watched your conversion story on Journey Home and plan to share this with her. That is where I found your blog. You are an inspiration.
      When I typed in your site and immediately read about your loss, my heart and prayers went out to you.
      Please pray and read the catechism 2282 and talk to your priest.
      God’s love and mercy has no boundary…..
      Your Aunt is in the loving arms of Jesus.
      You, your Aunt and your Family are in our thoughts and prayers.
      Trust in him. May the Holy Spirit fill your heart with love and peace this Easter Season.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi John and Marcy,

        Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I’m sorry it took me so long to reply. I’m so happy to hear that Marcy is in RCIA- was she confirmed this Easter? I hope to write a post soon about my mom and stepdad’s confirmation this Easter too. 🙂

        I will look up your recommendation, and can assure you the words of our priest have been such a comfort to us. We also have a priest in the family and he sent us a wonderful pamphlet on God’s mercy in this situation. How good to know the mercy of our God, especially to those who are suffering and in deep emotional and mental distress.

        Blessings to you, and I hope to be able to see you back here again soon.

        Sincerely,

        Lorelei

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    2. Hi Barbara, thank you so much for your words and I’m sorry for the delayed reply. Thank you for your prayers. I think transparency is so important in many things, but it’s been my hope to not add to the stigma of silence around the struggles my aunt faced and I am thankful it has reached so many people.

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  2. Way to be brave and strong and truthful. I’m sorry to hear about the pain and hope that it can turn into a quiet trusting which I believe the signs are already there for you.
    I watched your Journey Home video the other day and was so moved by the whole experience: watching your journey, hearing your questions and how to walked through your life, seeing the ways it impacted your family and all of the honesty. Thank you for taking the time to reflect: what a spiritual activity that can even be: to write, reflect, collect our thoughts and share them with the world.
    Maybe in time reading through some of your old posts can help show you your hope and courage as well. I’ll continue to pray for you Lorelei!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Alyssa, and sorry for the delayed response! And for your prayers. They are all helping so much :).

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  3. Sorry for your loss. On another level than this, through Christ, and because of your love for one and other, you are still connected. No words will washaway your sadness and all we can do is cry with you. God receive Jeannine and comfort you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi AJ, thank you so much and I’m sorry for the delayed reply. And thank you for your prayers. I am so comforted that my prayers can still help her because God is outside of time.

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    1. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story. I agonize with you over your immeasurable loss, while simultaneously praise God for your piercing Authenticity. God is using you in a unique and powerful way to reach others. It’s been said,”In God’s economy pain is never wasted” or as C.S.Lewis forcefully declared,” God whispers to us in our pleasures but shouts to us in our pain”. May God through His inexhaustible grace catapult you farther and higher into His perfect service as a result of this difficult circumstance. Praying you will “Feel” refreshed and recalibrate as you lean into our Lord’s bountiful love for you and J.P. Your family is a blessing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much Bob. I’m sorry for the delayed reply. Yes, the fact that suffering is never wasted is such a huge comfort to me. When I went through a period of questioning my faith a few years back, coming to the conclusion that there is ultimate justice for pain, sorrow, and brokenness in the end made all the difference. Your words are also a huge comfort as we continue to grieve and heal.
        -Lorelei

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    1. Thank you so much, Douglas. All the prayers are so appreciated and needed. Thank you for thinking of our family and Jeannine.

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