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Grandpa Didn't Want To Go To Church

 

Following my paternal grandmother's death after childbirth, my grandfather began moving constantly with his two young children to different places, getting new jobs and starting new projects only to leave again some time later. Sometimes they would go to a new neighbourhood or to a nearby city, but some other occasions they would move to a faraway state oftentimes to places not only remote but isolated and with barely any basic services.

At some point Grandpa remarried and had two more children, uncles P and B, who are much younger than my father and his brother. Uncle B is older than me by only three years.

After becoming an adult and starting his own family, my father sometimes would lost contact with Grandpa because they had moved to a place without telephone service. We would get a letter or a postal card letting us know of their latest whereabouts only to learn, time afterwards, that they had sold their house and moved somewhere else...again.

Eventually uncle B settled down. But now married uncle P and his family (aunt M, and cousins T and L.M), and my grandparents stayed together practicing Grandpa's nomadic lifestyle.

For the above reasons, my siblings and I didn't really have a chance to spend much time with Grandpa nor to keep much memories of him.

I don't know much about his character other than he was an adventurer and wasn't afraid to undertake any new enterprise, it didn't bother him to start again from zero.

I imagine Grandpa was religious at some point in his life, as it would be expected of a bishop's brother-in-law and of a man who had joined the Cristeros' Army.

Grandma passed away and several years later, in January 1999, Grandpa took his own life.

Given the circumstances of his death and the fact that they had to take his body to the coroner's, there was not a vigil held for Grandpa.

Uncle P decided that Grandpa's last resting place should be at the side of his late wife. There was a funeral mass after which they had to take him for burial to a cemetery in a city more than 250 km away from the place where they were living.

Shortly after his passing, my mother kept a lit candle and prayed for him. One day she had to leave the house to run some errands and, to be safe, she placed the candle on the tiled floor of the living-room away from anything that could accidentally start a fire.

When she got home and saw the candle, a silent reminder of Grandpa's tragic death, she prayed again and, to her surprise, saw the candle glide gracefully on the floor for at least two meters!

It is going to be 21 years since Grandpa died, during which I have gone to Mexico several times. I was there last month and had a good visit with uncle B and his family. We talk about many topics, at some point the conversation took us to discuss Grandpa's death and he told me something that happened to him during the funeral.

Like I mentioned before, there was no wake for Grandpa, still they had to hire the services of a funeral company and a hearse to transport the casket from the coroner's to the church and from the church to the cemetery.

When the hearse arrived to the church, uncle B, cousin T and two men from the funeral company carried the casket toward the building, but when they were crossing the threshold B felt like as if the weight the pallbearers were holding had multiplied several times making almost impossible to keep walking. His first thought was that his body/mind were reacting to the stress of his father's death and made his best to prevent his knees from buckling and kept walking into the church. Once inside, the weight of the body and the box went back to normal.

At the end of the service he wondered if this would happen again, but it didn't.

He kept the events to himself for a long time, until one day when cousin T confessed to have experienced the same thing that day at the church.

They concluded that Grandpa didn't want to go to church that day, perhaps he felt regret for having taken his life or was afraid of facing whatever was waiting for him at the other side.

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lady-glow (12 stories) (2659 posts)
+1
6 months ago (2020-01-10)
Aussiedaz

"5 percent of suicides are pre planned before birth, an elderly old person tired of living may fit under that umbrella if they have reached a certain stage of their journey and wish the curtain would fall"

That's a very interesting point of view about suicide, in my opinion, there are many instances in which death is freedom. Unfortunately suicide has been stigmatized through history by many cultures and religions.
I imagine a person's consciousness might carry the weight of this stigma after crossing to the other side making them afraid of whatever they were forced to believe would be waiting for the ones who have chose to exit through this way.

Although I was spared all the problems that came after Grandpa's death, I know that the people closest to him had a hard time dealing with it.

Thanks for your kind words.
aussiedaz (18 stories) (1426 posts)
+3
6 months ago (2020-01-09)
lady-Glow

Our departed loved ones are always desperate enough to reach out which ever way they can, IMO, the extra weight was Grandpa's way of coming through to let your family know he is ok... It may also be a metaphor in the sense that he is sorry for leaving extra pressure on his family for making the choices he made?.

95 percent of suicides usually wake up on the other side with that ''oh no why did I do that for'', however even so, they are usually comforted by other loved ones and sometimes even re energised if their spiritual self needs the boost.

5 percent of suicides are pre planned before birth, an elderly old person tired of living may fit under that umbrella if they have reached a certain stage of their journey and wish the curtain would fall... We usually pick a few exit points pre birth, although the burden of weight was left on his family to carry... (pardon the pun) the next exit point strategy for grand dad, may have been a lot tougher to bear.

Thank you for sharing,

Regards Daz
lady-glow (12 stories) (2659 posts)
+1
6 months ago (2020-01-09)
mel8763, I appreciate your kind words.

I guess the most difficult part for a survivor is to wonder for the rest of their life if they could have done more to prevent a loved one from committing suicide. It is a very traumatic experience.

Thanks for reading and commenting on my experience.
mel8763 (1 stories) (18 posts)
+4
6 months ago (2020-01-08)
Lady-glow, very sorry you and your family went through this. I think it WAS your grandpa communicating with your mother. Suicide has got to be hard on the survivors. I'm so sorry for your and your family's pain.
lady-glow (12 stories) (2659 posts)
+2
6 months ago (2020-01-06)
Tweed.

It's so nice to hear from you!

The candle moved in diagonal away and to the right side from where Mom was, and stopped close to the couch.

I have never thought too much about this, but your idea makes me wonder if this was Grandpa's way to say "Hey, I'm here and came to visit" and sat down on the couch.
Mom didn't feel any sorrow or negative energy during this event.

"Perhaps feeling the extra weight was symbolic of an unburdening of perceived mortal sins, from heavy (earthly matter, a troubled mind) to lighter (forgiveness, love)."

Your words make sense, I really hope that religious service helped to free his tormented soul of whatever negative feelings he might have had. I hope he is at peace.

Thanks for reading and commenting on my story.
Tweed (28 stories) (2287 posts)
+5
6 months ago (2020-01-06)
Hey Lady Glow,

Perhaps feeling the extra weight was symbolic of an unburdening of perceived mortal sins, from heavy (earthly matter, a troubled mind) to lighter (forgiveness, love). Not knowing his beliefs it's hard to understand why it occurred, but it seems darn important that it did.

Also, do you know the direction the candle slid in? Was it toward or away from your mother, or toward an object? I don't know if there would be any significance in the direction. Maybe he was simply doing it to say 'Hi'.

Hearing about suicide leaves me speechless. I'm sorry you and your family went through this.
lady-glow (12 stories) (2659 posts)
+2
7 months ago (2019-12-19)
Melda & silverthane.

Thanks for reading and commenting on my story. I appreciate your kind words.

Melda - yes, the coffin was taken to the altar. I imagine that Grandpa's spirit was beside his children listening to all the phone calls they did asking for a funeral mass for him only to get rejected over and over again.

I like to think that, once inside the church, he was able to see that what was waiting for him in the afterlife wasn't brimstone and fire, but love, forgiveness and compassion.
Melda (9 stories) (1274 posts)
+4
7 months ago (2019-12-18)
lady-glow - It's sad that you didn't really get to know your grandfather due to his lifestyle.

He must have been very unhappy to have taken his own life. So many people are judgmental about suicide but how can anybody who hasn't been in a very dark, deep place in their lives, from which they feel there is no escape, possibly understand.

Was your grandfather's coffin taken to the altar for his funeral service? I ask this because I know that a number of churches (in South Africa at least) do not, or did not, allow the body of a person who committed suicide at the altar. In fact I don't think they were allowed anywhere in the church. I sincerely hope this attitude has changed in the meantime.

It could be very possible that your grandfather knew of this practice and so was resisting being taken into the church and particularly up to the altar.

I hope I don't sound negative but having been raised in the Catholic Church (which I seem to think you were as well) what I described was in fact the practice with suicidal deaths.

However I don't doubt that your grandfather has made peace with his life and his passing wherever he dwells at present. In fact I think he proved this by moving the candle.

Regards, Melda
silverthane61 (4 stories) (344 posts)
+3
7 months ago (2019-12-16)
I feel sad for your Grandpa - he seems like the kind of man I would have enjoyed knowing. I know that some faiths refuse to participate in any religious rites for the dead who have died due to suicide. I believe this is a tragedy dumped on another tragedy. Maybe the weighted coffin was your Grandpa's way of protesting the very church that refused to grant him a religious ceremony.
lady-glow (12 stories) (2659 posts)
+4
7 months ago (2019-12-15)
Cherubim.

Thank you for your kind words and for reading and commenting on my story.
lady-glow (12 stories) (2659 posts)
+2
7 months ago (2019-12-15)
Greetings Miandra.

I really appreciate your kind words.

"Settling in place after place may have been his way of regressing the pain and loss of his love."

I have always wonder the reason behind Grandpa's chosen lifestyle, I guess it wasn't easy for him to have survived two wives and, though in appearance his life was comfortable, perhaps he felt that his wings were stronger than his roots and resented having to settle on only one place.

I only hope for him to be at peace.

Thank you for reading and commenting on my experience.
lady-glow (12 stories) (2659 posts)
+2
7 months ago (2019-12-15)
Jubeele - It's interesting to know how different funeral rituals can be from place to place. In Mexico people get buried within two days after their passing, the vigil lasting usually one day and one night.

I'm not really aware of all the details of Grandpa's funeral, I don't know how long he was kept at the morgue before the burial.
Mom has mentioned to me that, given the circumstances of his death, it wasn't easy for my uncles to find a priest accepting to perform a mass for him. I imagine his spirit was full of regret, not only for the decision he had taken, but for the way this action affected the rest of the family.

It makes me wonder if all four of the pallbearers felt the increase on the casket's weight or if only B and T experienced it.

Thanks for reading and for your kind words.
Sleeping-with-steve (8 stories) (433 posts)
+1
7 months ago (2019-12-15)
Hello Lady-Glow,

I couldn't help but feel for your grandpa. He lost his wife and was unable to continue in poor health to the point he took his own life. 😢

Settling in place after place may have been his way of regressing the pain and loss of his love.

I'm sorry for your loss lady-glow. Hopefully he is reunited with your grandma. May their souls RIP.

Thank you for sharing.

Best wishes,
Miandra
😘 ❤ 😘
Jubeele (20 stories) (820 posts)
+3
7 months ago (2019-12-13)
Oh, this is a very sad and tragic account, lady-glow. All that unhappiness and regret he must have felt. ☹ It does seem as if your Grandpa wasn't quite ready and was dragging his heels with the pallbearers, so to speak. Maybe he would have preferred a vigil so he could be more prepared for whatever was to come?

When members of my family passed, we kept vigil by the side of the deceased for 3 days and 3 nights. Rex and I did the night-time shifts at my father's wake. The ritual gave us some closure even as we grieved. I like to think that on some spiritual level, it provided comfort for the departing souls of our loved ones. Allowed them to come to terms with their deaths, preparing them for the next stage of their journey.

I'm sorry for your loss too, Lealeigh. My heart goes out to your family and everyone else who has faced such tragedy. May there be peace for their troubled souls. Sending Light and Love to all of you.❤
Cherubim (13 stories) (205 posts)
+3
7 months ago (2019-12-13)
Oh, I'm so sorry about your grandfather. 😟 Maybe he was sorry and didn't want to go like you say. I hope and pray he is at rest with your grandmother now. God bless him and your family. ❤
lady-glow (12 stories) (2659 posts)
+3
7 months ago (2019-12-12)
Lealeigh.

Darn, I still cannot vote for you!

You got it right, it was her second wife. I should have said my step-grandma to be more specific.

One can only ponder on what goes on during the last moments of a person taking their own life. I think it must be very difficult to act against ones survival instinct.

I have been told that Grandpa's health wasn't that great and that he had been saying for some time that he was tired of living.

Perhaps he thought too much about his circumstances ant too little about the existence of an afterlife and the possible consequences of his decision. Who knows? - I just hope that, wherever he is at, his life is better than what he left behind.

Thank you for reading and commenting on my story.
Lealeigh (5 stories) (463 posts)
+3
7 months ago (2019-12-12)
Hello Lady-glow,

This is only an idea that I have in my head at this moment: I am thinking that, depending upon the manner of their death, the spirit of a person who commits suicide might be, for a moment, confused about the finality of their passing.

Maybe things don't look so clear from the other side of the veil. Maybe he wanted to avoid "sealing the deal" by avoiding being brought into the church.

Maybe he didn't want his life anymore the way that it was after his second wife died (I do have that part right? It was his second wife?); maybe he wasn't ready to leave comfortable surroundings and the warmth of his mortal body either.

My thoughts on suicide are that few of the people who kill themselves actually take a very long time considering it as an option; it is more of a snap decision. I think that, for a brief moment outside the church, your grandfather wished that he could take it back.

I'm not trying to be depressing or act like I have any psychic gifts; your story has made me thoughtful and I pray that your grandfather is where he loves to be now.

As a related note: my great grandfather (also in Mexico) killed himself. He was a great dancer in his youth. He and my great grandmother were sort of renowned in the community for dancing beautifully together. He killed himself after he lost a foot to diabetes.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

- Maria ❤

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