In Memoriam: Life Has Changed, Not Ended

My favorite line from Rite of Christian Burial is, “life has changed not ended.”

What a comforting promise in the face of losing a loved one. Death does not have the final say. It will not win in the end. This struck me in a profound way in June 2019 when my aunt (who was like a second mom to my siblings and I) died and most recently in January when my dad passed away.

It is a bold claim we Christians believe: that even when our physical bodies cease to exist, our spiritual bodies live on. Life really has not ended then, it just looks a little bit different. No other world religion believes that our spirit lives on in a deeper way when our physical body dies.

We have hope in the promise of eternal life because Jesus himself rose from the dead. Our God proved to us that death never ever has the last response. 

Do we miss our loved ones when they die? Yes of course! We wish they could hold us close in a warm hug or talk on the phone asking advice for a difficult situation. We wish we could laugh and enjoy good food and drink together; to share in the little beauties of daily life. While this feels different, our relationship with them has not ended. It has changed, evolved into a deeper spiritual reality. We can still talk to them, ask their advice, pray for their soul, and ask them to pray for us.

What I miss most about my dad is hearing his voice or listening to his deep laugh. Until I see him again someday, our relationship has now changed. I ask dad to pray for me, life situations, hopes and dreams. I ask him to show up and give me little signs along the way, knowing that I am right where God wants me.

My relationship with my dad has not ended, it only has changed a bit.

- Patty Breen


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