Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ghosts of losses past

For a pair of though-provoking and prayerful reflections by a parent the transition to college, read Letting Go 1 and 2 at People for Others.

We were threading our way through the hordes of parents and students in WJU's1 campus center, on a mission to get Crash his academic robe (to be donned at convocation the next day) when we ran into the delightful Protestant chaplain Math Man and I had met on our tour of sacred spaces earlier in the day.2 He stopped to say hello and ask if we'd found the tour useful (short answer, absolutely).

I turned to introduce him to Crash, "And this is my son, Thomas...uh, sorry, my son [insert Crash's real name here - which is not Thomas]" Where on earth did that come from?

Thomas is my first husband's name, and while our 31st wedding anniversary would have been last week, in all the hubbub of Crash's move to college, Tom's death is not at the top of my mind. Clearly it isn't buried all that deeply, either. I first met Tom when he was just a couple of years old than Crash is now, something hard to imagine even as I roll my mental film back all those years to see him as he was in college.

The shift in family structure set in motion by Crash's transition is nowise as cataclysmic as the one that opened a chasm in my life 25 years ago, but it seems that are are new cracks that I'll need to learn to step around, build bridges over, or sit at the edge of and contemplate. But I liked Patient Spiritual Director's reading of my parapraxis as a gentle sign of the communion of saints. Tom is there, watching over Crash.

1. Wonderful Jesuit University
2. Where we learned that the altar used in the chapel given over to the use of the Protestant community has a movable altar, which once held a relic of St. William. When the altar was moved to use in a large Mass elsewhere on campus, the reliquary fell out, and in all the ado, was somehow misplaced. I'm not sure what it says about me that the first thought to pop into my mind was, "How long before there is Twitter meme about St. William, a la the Brookyn Zoo's cobra's feed of last year?"


  1. Interconnectedness... loss and sorrow, welcome and new life. My vacation began with its own crash (unlike last year, not a real one this time!) and my daily words have remained... Everything must change.

  2. Blessings on you all.

  3. Where on earth did it come from? Probably nowhere on earth at you suspect, Crash is likely being watched over as he begins this new adventure. I hope that thought brings you some comfort.