Grief is a clarion call to love. It directs us to the eternal. Memento Mori.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Grief puts us on our knees—takes us
Hell must be entered into or we are destined to live what life is left to us running from
it. Trying to escape hell leads us further into the abyss. Drugs, alcohol abuse, porn,
fractured marriages are all a part of that running, culminating in our deaths and even the
killing of others.
But what does it mean to face hell, to enter into it? I am not equipped to write about
these things. Jack could; he was reading Dante’s “Inferno,” along with Aquinas and
Augustine, when he was killed. It is above my pay grade—my life is above my pay
grade. Yet this is where God has me. I have spent most of two years trying to
“understand” what happened to Jack. Trying to find meaning and a way forward. Trying
to “rescue” my family and hold us together. Praying to God, offering my suffering, joining
my suffering with others who have lost children. Saying my “yes” to the chaos and
suffering all around.
It was not until going to confession when a wise priest advised me to pray. Oh my
God, Oh my God, why have you forsaken me? With that prayer, he took me from the
foot of the cross, saying my “yes,” and put me squarely on the cross where I was
already. I was running from what I was experiencing every day. I needed to accept my
crucifixion. I needed to willingly enter hell—the hell beyond understanding, the hell
above my pay grade. I entered with my shield of faith, praise God, and stayed in the
darkness through a concussion and a bout with Covid. Evil had its way with me as I
found myself hopeless. I could not face or prepare for the second anniversary of Jack’s
sudden, violent death.
I woke up early on August 12 and was sitting in the dark on my front porch, facing
my beloved Wayside Shrine, the shrine that Mike made, that has brought so much
comfort, love, and joy to our family. At 5:02 a.m., I received a text from Jason, my
nephew and protector, who lives in Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Melissa, were here
last year on August 12. Jack was shot at 5:06 a.m., and “died” within five seconds.
Once again, Jason was there with me. I am reminded of Archangel Michael—willing to
enter hell with me, to be my companion, to fight alongside against the evil that took
Jack. Praying to God at 5:06 at the foot of the Wayside Shrine, in the presence of the
full moon, was my moment out of hell. Do no ask for explanation—above my pay
grade—but it was my moment out of hell. What followed was one grace building on
another. I will never be able to process, to understand, what occurred next. But I have
been rescued. I have been saved. My heart is still broken but it is full. Full of love, full of
hope, full of joy.
As I write this, I am suffering from my second bout of Covid in 30 days. I am a work
in progress. But God’s love has prevailed as my faith knew that it would. God’s mighty
ways are not our ways. He has an army working on this earth to bring his love to those
His army includes my church; precious friends, true warriors for Christ, my family;
my Carmelite family—including John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Therese; Jack’s
friends; the Warriors for Peace; the Warriors I know who are on the battlefield every
day, fighting the spiritual battle, Deandra and Eric Dycus; Anthony Beverly; The Body of
Christ Ministry; and so many Warriors I do not know, who love with the love of Jesus
and who call down the Holy Spirit for healing our brokenness.
It is love of God, love of neighbor, that defeats the enemy. We are all sinners, again
and again, as we live on this earth. I make the same mistakes—sins—over and over.
But putting my focus on God, thanking Jesus over and over, pulls me back from the
abyss and centers me in God’s love. Out of hell, into God’s arms. And that is where
Jack is. Thanks be to God.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Mother Mary, your mantle covers and protects all your children.
Thank you, Jesus. I do not deserve you but I love you with all my heart, all my soul,
all my strength.
And I thank all those in your army—on earth and in heaven—who fight for the
precious souls of those in hell.
With all my love and prayers for peace,
Oh, and for my penance, the priest who heard my confession had me read Psalm
22. God is good, God is great. God has this and always will.