And it’s actually only Wednesday?

 In this ministry, every day holds both challenges and gifts.

Some weeks, though, seem to hold more challenges. That would be this week.

Even though our kids are not coming to the school building (we’re in our sixth week of teaching remotely due to Covid), they are going to a lot of funerals for siblings, parents, grandparents, and relatives.

  • Two elders passed (one from Covid). Both were keepers of the traditional ways and language. All night wakes and big funerals this week.
  • Three adults were killed in a car crash (two were parents/ guardians of kids at our school). Wakes and funerals this Thursday and Friday.
  • Three teens and one 20 year old attempted suicide. One of the teens and the 20 year old are former students from our school community.
  • One teen completed suicide last week and his funeral is this week. 
  • Over the weekend, 17 year old Mia, daughter of a school staff member, and relative of a big bunch of students, who was an eleventh grade student in our high school,  died from a drug overdose. Might have been suicide… or an accident. No one knows. Funeral tomorrow.
Each of these is a difficult reality. Each of these impacts a slew of relatives; everyone is related to everyone here. 

All of this at the same time makes it even harder.

I receive word of the passing of Salvatorian elders a few times each month. We traditionally remember members from years ago as part of our Evening Prayer. As I read these obituaries and pray, I am always aware of how, no matter their age or background, they lived a full life. They’ve lived a deep life. Even when we know their life had its hard parts, we also know that their lives held a deep and positive meaning. Our Salvatorian men and women, even if they die unexpectedly, leave a positive legacy. As they “go home to God,” we know they have been welcomed there with great rejoicing. Our funerals are truly “celebrations of Life.” Yes, their passing leaves a hole… but while we may grieve, we also are grateful.

That gratitude is so hard to see, so hard to celebrate, when people here go on their “journey to the Spirit World.” Even the dying of elders, while expected, too often means a loss of language and culture that can never, really, be recouped. 

Yes, resilience is real here. It echoes through every day and week. 

But weeks like this week can push resilience into the background. Weeks like this week can be just plain hard.