Love and Death

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We recently prayed with our dear friends through their 33-year-old son, Gary Somers’s, funeral vigil, funeral Mass, luncheon, and interment.

His unexpected death was so shocking that it brought an avalanche of grief. The kind that makes you want to gather your own family around and make sure they know how much you love them; before it’s too late.

“It goes against the right order of things,” we agreed,  “It’s not supposed to be like this; we are not supposed to bury our children, they are supposed to bury us.”

And yet, grief brought so many together into the arms of the Church. People who had nothing in common except grief for the death of one young man. I witnessed extraordinary kindness between those gathered. Silence was respected, along with tears, and differences of every imaginable kind.

Our grief compelled us to express our love for young Gary and his family by showing up. Never have I seen so many mourners attend all three parts of the funeral. And never have I been more grateful for the liturgy. The Church embraces us in sanctified time and space where love flourishes. Both our love for Gary, and his love for his friends and family were evident in tangible ways that could not be faked.

At the luncheon, stories were shared in quiet conversations and memories honored through their telling to souls thirsty to hear every detail. People listened to each other. Really listened to memories of love lived through one particular and irreplaceable human person, now lost to us.

And yet, not lost completely.

Through it all, I believe I glimpsed Gary’s love, or rather Christ’s love as it could only be revealed through young Gary Somers’ life, and mysteriously . . .  his death.

There is only one Love.

Gary reflected Christ’s love in a unique and recognizable way that didn’t die when his body did.

It’s true. Love is stronger than death.

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