Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Comfort from Grief

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Comfort from Grief

Article excerpt

A Christian Science perspective.

My grandmother and I were quite close and had many interests in common. She was very cheerful, and I always felt loved when we were together. When my grandmother passed on, I was very sad to think that our good times were over.

One thing gave me some comfort, though - a collection of African violets we had cultivated together. Having them felt a little like having her still with me.

Around this time, I was beginning to discover that there was more to life than what appears on the surface of things. I was reading a book by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor. Her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" explains that existence is spiritual. The reasoning in the book appealed to me, especially this explanation of identity: "Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual" (p. 468).

Could it be that a person's true identity extends beyond his or her physical characteristics? If we are each made in the likeness of limitless Spirit, God, this must be the case. This made sense to me in terms of friendships. When I'm with a friend, I perceive many aspects of the person that transcend the body, qualities such as good humor, courage, and kindness. And when I'm alone and that friend comes to thought, I recognize him or her by these qualities. I might even feel the warmth of that friend's approval in the same way I feel it when we're together. But I hadn't yet extended this reasoning to those no longer with us.

Then, soon after my grandmother passed on, my husband and I moved. I carefully placed the violets on the back shelf of the car for the trip. But when we arrived at the new apartment, it took us longer than expected to unload them. In the interim, the sun came bearing down through the window, and the violets were severely damaged. When I saw them, I was overcome with grief. It seemed to me that now my grandmother was gone forever.

My father-in-law was helping us with the move, and was surprised by my uncontrollable grief. He could tell I needed help, so he found a quiet place where he could pray, while my husband stayed with me. …

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