Glory to Jesus Christ!
No one can truly be prepared for the loss of a loved one, especially when it comes unexpectedly. The emptiness it creates cannot be imagined, except perhaps by those who have experienced a similar loss. But still, each death is unique.
For a long time after the passing of my wife, as I entered a long, dark tunnel of grief, I felt as if I were living in the Book of Job. Like Job, I couldn't understand why this misfortune had happened to me. My anger toward God was palpable, leading me to ask trusted friends if this meant I was losing my faith. Each one told me in his or her own way, that my fear was instead, proof of faith and that I should express my feelings to God because, in His limitless love, He would understand. I did not hold back.
In the months that followed, I learned to "love the fallow way" http://.judycollins.com/lyrics/fallow-way, as Judy Collins once sang. Just as farmers allow some land to rest between plantings. I found I needed time not just to pray, but to listen in silence to discern how I should move forward and not dwell on a past I could not change. Through God's wisdom, I also found the healing process could not be rushed.
For years, first as an Altar Boy and as I got older, I believe when we sang Vichnaya Pamyat at funerals or panachidas, it was for the benefits of the living, a prayer that we survivors would forever remember those who passed into Eternal Life. Instead, through those fallow ways, I grew to realize the hymn is actually a plea to God to grant eternal life to our lost loved ones. In turn, we can pray to them to help.
There can be life after death, so long as we use the freedom God gives us to recognize and grasp the opportunities that God sends our way so that we too, can be accepted into Eternal Memory that awaits us in the future.
Glory to Him Forever.
The Icon of Our Lady of Tenderness on the Home Page is a gift from +Father Eugene Fulton given on the day of our wedding, June 1, 1974.