Three years sounds like a long while, but it’s really not. Time can do many things, but healing all wounds isn’t one of them. The pain of losing Vincent hasn’t subsided, yet the rhythms of grief have changed, at least for me.

Generally speaking, daily functioning has gradually grown easier, but anniversaries and birthdays seem increasingly difficult. Each anniversary is like an ominous semester deadline, when your list of unfinished assignments can no longer be ignored. Grief will let you procrastinate, but only for so long.

My tears are due today.

Vincent

With the help of Holy Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer, I’ve drawn up a short liturgy in memory of Vincent. Our family will be using it when we visit the cemetery today. You are welcome to pray along with us, or adapt it for someone you have lost.

A Liturgy in Memory of Vincent 

Leader: Today, we remember the life of our beloved son, brother, grandson, and nephew, Vincent Wing Seun Stringer. On the third anniversary of his passing, let us pray to our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Reader 1: Lord, you consoled Mary and Martha in their distress. Draw near to us who mourn for Vincent, and dry the tears of all who weep.

All: Hear us, Lord.

Reader 2: You wept at the grave of your close friend, Lazarus. Bring comfort to our family, and shepherd all who grieve in sorrow.

All: Hear us, Lord.

Reader 3: You welcomed and blessed the little children. Vincent is now victorious and safe in your arms. Fill us with the hope of reunification.

All: Hear us, Lord.

Reader 1: The Lord has come to comfort all who mourn, to provide for all those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

All: Thanks be to God.

Reader 2: The Lord Almighty will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.

All: Thanks be to God.

Reader 3: When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

All: Thanks be to God.

Leader: Most generous and loving God, we give you thanks for Vincent’s life. Give us grace to treasure Vincent’s memory and help us bring comfort to others. Grant us faith in your goodness and strength to meet the days to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

All: Hear us, Lord. Thanks be to God. Amen.