By Chris Meehan
Three women sat on portable stools among the gravestones, laughing and crying as they watched the rays of the evening sun stream through the trees. “You might say it was my great sorrow that brought us there, but I’d say it was really the love of my sisters in Christ,” explains Judy Hickey (Saskatoon).
Judy’s mother died 44 years ago, when Judy was eight years old. Following the custom of the time, Judy and her sister had not been allowed to attend their mother’s funeral services. The pain and anguish from losing her mom grew over the years, but Judy didn’t talk about it very much. Then she brought up her grief at a women’s group meeting.
“Judy, have you ever been to your mother’s grave?,” Janice Akerman asked after hearing the story.
“No. I’m afraid it’ll be too hard. And I don’t even know where she’s buried.”
“We’ll find out. We’ll come and get you next Monday for women’s group and we’ll go with you, if that’s what you need,” Janice said.
The next Monday evening, Suzanne Rooke and Janice rolled up to Judy’s house in Janice’s car. They drove 20 minutes to a large cemetery. Janice found the grave’s location online and printed a map so Judy could find the spot then and in the future.
Janice and Suzanne brought flowers for Judy to place on her mother’s grave. As they sat in the warm sun, Judy shared memories of her mother, the things she missed the most, and how her mother’s death had affected her life over the years.
"As we talked and cried together,” says Judy, “I realized how grateful I was for these women, and for the time and effort we had put into our friendship over the years to bring us to this point. They were God’s provision for me. I found that I could start to face my grief and move along with it, once I had the strength and courage of my women’s group to bolster me. I wouldn’t have wanted to face it on my own.”