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.
Bob Grip is a lifelong Byzantine Catholic who has attended the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Mount St. Macrina for decades. Bob hosted the video commemorating the 75th anniversary of Otpust. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, ending his two terms as Chairman of the Board. Bob is a past President of the Thomas Merton Society.
Bob, who is a member of the Alabama Broadcasters Hall of Fame, spent his entire career in broadcast (and later multimedia) journalism. His time as a primary news anchor included meetings with St. John Paul II at the Vatican during which he greeted the Pope by saying "Slava Isusu Christu". The Pope immediately responded by saying, "I viki vikov". Bob's wife +Marie and 2 daughters, Erin and Mary Kate, accompanied him during his second visit in 2001. Married for almost 45 years, Bob became a widower in 2019.
For all who have attended Pilgrimage over the past several decades, you have heard Bob's soothing, beautiful voice over the public address system. Bob always manages to deliver messages in a sacred manner and tone compatible with the holiness of Pilgrimage.