A Flower That Doesn’t Die

The Passion was not just a symbolic grief this year. We lost my grandmother on Tuesday of Holy Week. Her feisty spirit didn’t always make her the easiest person to get along with. Despite my grudges or issues with her, my children loved her just as she was. Their memories are of the fizzy drinks in fancy glasses, a small footstool they sat on that they called the “tuffet” and her love of pretty things like candles and flowers. 

I found out she had passed in the middle of the day, but waited to tell my kids until we were home and done with a Cub Scout meeting and homework. As the inevitable time approached to tell them, I knew I could not “take this cup” from them and spare their pain, only allow them some time to grieve at home in private before they had to face the world. 

They kept asking “why at Easter, why at Easter?” All I could think of to say is that she was ready to celebrate the Resurrection with Jesus. Each day of Holy Week, we would be grieving her death and also preparing for the death of Jesus. The more we talked, the more I realized my nine year old Paul was actually struggling through the slow loss of her all year. The move from her home into assisted living, the stripping away of more and more of her belongings, her lack of responsiveness during her last few visits. He missed her just being her, and now he realized she was never coming back. 

When talked about her love of Jesus, and the joy that she will be with Him at Easter, and the hope that we have in the Resurrection. My three year old replied, “Jesus is stupid!” Does he really mean that, no. But he is lashing out the only way he knows. Anything he doesn’t like is “stupid.” Really isn’t the whole Passion amazingly stupid? Why did Jesus go through this for us? I have no idea, but in times like this week I am especially grateful that He did. 

Paul came up with the idea to make origami flowers for the funeral. My grandmother loved flowers and Paul had the idea that we should celebrate her with “flowers that never die.” His image and need for a tangible signs of hope has stuck with me all week. 

As Christians, we have found that Jesus is that flower that will never die, a reminder of our eternal life with Him. 

Published by jencoito

Jen Coito is a California native with diverse experience in parish, academic, and national ministry settings. She has a Masters in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University. She worked for the California Province of Jesuits for seven years promoting Christian Life Community on university campuses and other diverse ethnic settings. Jen has collaborated on the creation of formation materials, discernment tools, and small group processes that are being used around the country in Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, and English. In 2013, Jen and Jesuit priest Fr. Tri Dinh co-founded Christus Ministries out of a desire to engage local young adults and form young-adult friendly parishes. Jen works for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California as the Associate Director of Mission Advancement. Jen, Jason, and their three children live in Southern California. You can read more of Jen's writings at www.jencoito.com.

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