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Topics: Spirituality | Opinion

Holy Saturday is sacred time for anyone who has lost

Shock, disorientation, grief, fear, sorrow and anger remain even as God is still at work


This piece is the seventh in a series of reflections on Lent and Holy Week.

Morning light. Facts sorting into a terrible dawning. I don’t want to move. The moment my feet touch the floor I will be falling again, pulled by grief, not gravity, over the edge of brutal end. I feel my slippers. I am already dizzy. Rising, I fall. Every loss of yesterday flying past me just out of reach, but I will reach anyway to try and save them as if they are still mine to save. It’s too early and too fast for all this flailing.  

Voices. I am talking now. Trying to sound as if I am not falling. Are others falling too? Murmurs of human company and mugs of warmth emptied into the abyss. I am lurching through the day looking for steadying hope. Nothing. Light moves across the sky and for a moment, a line of bright hollyhocks cut through the fear. But then, it fades.  

There is no relief from this new reality. It is a remaining thing. I brush my teeth at 3 p.m. and weep because I miss my life so much and this is not my life but I must walk around in it like it is, and talk as if it’s me. I email my best friend and I love her too much to tether her to this grief so I hold my breath and lie. I am so tired from falling all day, and when the porch shadows change for evening, I am glad this day is coming to its end.

Birds crisscross the dusk, making their last dash for home before their brood locks the doors for the night. This daily rush hour used to comfort me, but now panic rises because I have not changed one fact today and that chance is almost gone. 

More Holy Week reflections from Broadview:

The Palm Sunday donkey has an important message for us

This Holy Monday, remember that Easter will still come

This Holy Tuesday, there is no doubt that we are broken

This Holy Wednesday, consider a new symbol for our faith

Maundy Thursday’s foot-washing is more than a re-enactment

On Good Friday amid a plague, a hard truth emerges


How can others lose so much and still go on? There, on the edge of my bed, I remember them, painfully and wonderfully grateful for Spirit-mending ministry I have witnessed through the years. But who can we follow now, in such aching absence? 

At last, I lie down and stop trying to save the life that is gone further from me by a day now. My children. The smell of their sweaty heads in summer. Relief. Tears roll down, for love still has somewhere to land. 

Will every tomorrow be this today? Is my best hope that edges wear down into smoother sorrow? God save us. God save us. God save us. It rocks my breathing toward sleep. There is no vigil to keep. This death is real. Remaining. And in that thin place just before I’m gone, a word forms from a life lived long in the story, “resurrection.” It’s come too late to change anything in this day, and is too much for me to believe right now anyway. I sleep instead. 

But in my dreaming, the hope of resurrection remains. For even long ago, everyone slept through it.

Broadview is an award-winning progressive Christian magazine, featuring stories about spirituality, justice and ethical living. For more of our content, subscribe to the magazine today.


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  • says:

    I too can be dark and in despair, but hope is is looking forward to something that is not yet seen.
    1 Corinthians 15 gives us what that hope is.
    Thankfully, not everyone slept through it.

  • says:

    I have noticed at a couple hundred graveside internments that there is an a moment of silence beginning when the last words or prayer has been spoken. I think of the gospel of Mark. Joseph gives his tomb over for the burial of Jesus. And than everyone goes home. Silence. But it says of Joseph that he was waiting expectantly for the "kingdom of God". As it arrives in Christ at Christmas it returns in Him raised on Ressurection Sunday. Not a metaphor or a myth but Jesus as he really is. eturn
    Hope the church hears this Sunday. What God has done for us that we cannot do for one another.

  • says:

    Richard Rohr says, "It takes great humility to admit we have suffered through this kind of darkness, because it often sounds like a loss of faith to those who have not endured it. But when everything we thought we knew becomes 'nada,' in the language of John of the Cross, we actually become more loving and compassionate human beings, for we no longer rely on our own light but upon the Light of the world living within us." The Light that lives within you, Diane, shows others the way out of the darkness you survived.