Wednesday, 28 November 2007

We the bereaved are not alone.

I have been thinking about grief, both mine, the grief of those around me, and indeed the collective grief we as a community share.

As Christians we are called to stand in a place of grief and transformation in the crucifixion and the Resurrection we are given a template for living through such times. For dying to old ways to transformation into new.

The other day just before staff Eucharist I got a news alert saying that they body of Emma Agnew had been found. Somewhere we all knew she was dead yet we hoped against hope I suppose as the days of her disappearance lengthened that she would be found alive.

Then of course there are the feelings of horror the deep sadness of what as a community we have become and I would also have to say that although her deafness was not something that held her back in life, it seemed to add an edge of vulnerability to her story that touched our own sense of vulnerability I guess.

My family have for many many years had a connection with the deaf community in one way or another, from my Fathers creating the news for the deaf to our own family members with Margaret our foster sister. Funny to find that it has been over a year since Margaret died suddenly in the states. A brilliant musician I have over the last few weeks as Emma has been missing thought a lot about her and about Margaret. About her horror of losing her hearing, losing her music and how it was to have those signals, those warnings she had relied on daily in sound had been taken away from her.

The comments in the community over this have been interesting. One hearing woman I spoke with found comfort in discovering that although Emma did not have speech she could at least scream. The thought of her not having a voice had haunted her for days.

Another was horrified to find her self saying 'at least its not another toddler', words she wished she could take back the moment she said them. All were touched by the horror of what must be unfolding for the family and indeed Emma in her last moments.

I was on prayers that morning and we dedicated our service to Emma, her friends and family and the people who had been touched by such a tragedy, a tragedy which is all too common.

I really thought that I had it together until I opened a prayer cycle that said today we celebrate . the 'International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. As I prayed for this I looked out the window where clearly seen was the Police building where the press conference announcing the finding of Emma's body was concluding as we prayed.

So I pray for all those who suffer mutilation and violation,
for those sold into slavery or who simply disappear,
for the abused ,
the hopeless,
the fearful,
the forgotten,
for all those named and unnamed known only to God
and for those of us left with dark twisted questions
and inconsolable grief.

In the words of another awesome deaf woman, Helen Keller,
may we remember:

We bereaved are not alone.
We belong to the largest company in all the world –
the company of those who have known suffering.
When it seems that our sorrow is too great to be borne,
let us think of the great family of the heavy-hearted into which our grief has given us entrance,
and inevitably, we will feel about us their arms, their sympathy,
their understanding.

Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world.
So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.
(Helen Keller)



Jodi said...

Wow! I'm sorry to hear about Emma. Words don't even express the loss and grief her friends and family must be experiencing. I will remember her and those who loved her in my prayers during the coming days and weeks.

Fringe Dweller said...

Hi Jodi

many thanks for your comments and indeed your prayers. I find that I have lost count of the times that I say these are odd times, maybe there will be a time when things are not odd and I shall say "things are quite normal at the odd!"

Reading your blog I see that grief has been sitting with you at this time as well. Blessings to you and your family