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Weeping for Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Another Coffee from the November 2000 Deep Cove Crier
Millions of Canadians watched at least a portion of the funeral of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.  I lived in Montreal during the days of Trudeaumania, and was naively caught up in the energy of it.  I even had newspaper photos of Trudeau plastered on my wall.  Trudeau symbolized the boundless optimism of Canada in the late 1960’s when we believed that if we tried a bit harder, our national problems would rapidly go away.  As a westerner who has spent most of my life in BC, I also went through the alienation phase with Trudeau when my heart hardened to his style of leadership.  Given the hardness of my heart, I was surprised how much the funeral moved me, even to the point of tears.  I felt like I wasn’t just mourning for Trudeau’s death but for the death of an era when things seemed simpler.

Since the death of my mother-in-law, my wife and I both decided to take a 13-week ‘Grief Share’ course led by Lois Ellis (604-985-0646).  This course is a video series with small group sharing by the participants.  As a clergyman, I often take funerals and help others deal with their grief.  But when one’s own family is involved, grief is experienced quite differently.

We live in a high-tech culture that gives us little time to really grieve.  In contrast to the speed of modern internet communications, grieving cannot be rushed.  The heart of ‘quality grieving’ involves a lot of ‘quantity grieving’.  Grieving takes a lot more time than many of us want to devote to it.

Another thing that has been reinforced to me through taking the ‘Grief Share’ course is that grieving is best done in community and through relationships.  Our culture is radically individualistic and private about things that really matter.  Some people have become so private about death that they have even given up on funerals.  Instead we just read in the paper about the death of former friends and loved ones.  The tragedy of the demise of funerals is that it has left many people stuck in grief, with no way to express it.

I was in the Okanagan visiting relatives when my Aunt Marg said to me: ‘Ed, I have a friend who has had a mental breakdown, and no one can figure out why.  Can you help her?’  Meeting with Aunt Marg’s friend, I discovered that due to an physical illness, she had missed her mother’s funeral.  Sensing that this was the root of the breakdown, I led her on the shore of Lake Okanagan in a brief funeral, releasing memories of her mom into the arms of Jesus.  Upon returning to Vancouver, my Aunt Marg phoned me and said: ‘I don’t know what happened.  But whatever you did seemed to work.  She is totally better now’.  Some of you reading this article may be suffering at this very moment from never having been able to go to the funeral of a loved one.  Perhaps your loved one lived half way around the world, and it didn’t seem practical.  Perhaps no funeral was even permitted.  Either way, you need to create the opportunity for you to release the memories of your loved one into Jesus’ arms.

What is it about grieving that makes us want to run away? Click to find out more….

Refill?


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Contact Rev. Ed Hird
St. Simon's Anglican Church 
North Vancouver, B.C.