‘Why those tears, those bitter tears,’, November 2006

tourcoing-tomb-wordingAt my Grandparents’ grave in the cemetery of Blanc Seau, Tourcoing, France November, 2006

Why those tears, those bitter tears, those sobs that poured out as I stood at my grandparents grave. Was it for the separation of death, that long break 60 years ago? Why those tears, those bitter tears, emerging from some unknown wound? What loss, as I stood there, overcome, at the tomb of my grandparents? The memory of loss, their loss, my father’s tears at their loss, the passing of time, their life and my mine as finally I try to acknowledge the failures.
Or the stress of the recent conference in Brussels as I realised my insignificance, as I begin to realise my body is weakening and becoming stiff with age, my slow steps to the grave. 
The bitter tears, the tears springing of their own accord, starting to well up when the florist remembered my mother – “une grande dame, mince” – and my father – “plus petit” –who knew the tomb, “allée J en montant” she remembered, “tombe en permanence”. 

The cries then, and the groans as the grey skies too shed their tears.
And I bent down and straightened the cross that had been broken. And I placed the roses, six of them, red and pink, on the dark grey slab of stone. A fine tomb carved by Amedée Hiroux; he and his wife were friends of my grandparents. And I knelt down and made the promise on their grave to do a work worthy of them, to bring to a successful conclusion the gifts given to me.
Then I left never to return, either me or probably any other of their offspring.

About interfaithashram

Rev. Dr. John Dupuche is a Roman Catholic Priest, a senior lecturer at MCD University of Divinity, and Honorary Fellow at Australian Catholic University. His doctorate is in Sanskrit in the field of Kashmir Shaivism. He is chair of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and has established a pastoral relationship with the parishes of Lilydale and Healesville. He is the author of 'Abhinavagupta: the Kula Ritual as elaborated in chapter 29 of the Tantraloka', 2003; 'Jesus, the Mantra of God', 2005; 'Vers un tantra chrétien' in 2009; translated as 'Towards a Christian Tantra' in 2009. He has written many articles. He travels to India each year. He lives in an interfaith ashram.
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2 Responses to ‘Why those tears, those bitter tears,’, November 2006

  1. The tears were completely unexpected and unusual. Something was happening from deep in the subconscious. When I went back in July this year, there were no such reactions. The tears were healing, even if they were bitter. They are to be treasured.


  2. Nani Abroad says:

    Dear Fr. John,
    I see you have posted this ten years after writing it. How do you feel now, thinking about everything you have experienced? Have you revisited the grave since? Is it ever within our own power to judge our own worthiness or success?
    In view of your many homilies at funerals can these tears speak of hope as well as loss? Tears contain within their own chemistry, seeds of consolation.
    May there be space for consolation and hope within those bitter tears.


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