We read in the Gospels how, when the women came to anoint the body of Jesus after his death, they were met by two angels saying, ‘ Why do you seek him here? He is not here.’
The challenge to those early followers after the sudden death of their teacher was how to live without his physical presence, and to incorporate his teachings into their lives.
The loss of anyone close, whether by death or the break-up of a relationship, is like the feeling of being left standing alone in an alien airport or railway station, cut off from our familiar surroundings. We have to learn how to let go and stand on our own feet, recognising our aloneness as an opportunity for further growth. Easier said than done! A parent or a loved one may have been dead for many years and still we have not let them go, or begun to acknowledge the new life within us waiting to break through.
All endings bring us face to face with the unknown. We say, ‘Oh, he/she is irreplaceable’ and that may be so; but such a death invariably challenges us to become more self-reliant and, often, to develop aspects of ourself that previously have been neglected. We have to accept that the landscape of our lives has changed, and will go on changing for, as Tennyson wrote in Morte d ‘Arthur, ‘the old order changeth, yielding place to new.’