I realize how deeply the death of a parent touches us. We suddenly realize that some of the most intimate ties are broken and that we are called to let our parents move away from us and their place in history.
And still I also believe that absence might lead to the awareness of a new presence. Lately, I have found much comfort in the words of Jesus: “It is for your good that I leave, because unless I leave my Spirit cannot come.” Jesus’ leaving meant that he would become more intimately present to us, that he would unite himself in a new way with us. Because of his death we can say: “Not I live but Christ lives in me.” I have a feeling that this is not just true of Jesus, but in and through Jesus of all people who leave us. In their absence we can develop a new intimacy with them and grow. We even can become more like them and fulfill their mission in life until the day comes that we too have to leave so that our spirit can stay with those we love. In this way mourning can slowly turn into joy, and grief into rebirth.