In a private journal entry, Eugene had put down his thoughts and feelings. What does this intimate glimpse awaken in me regarding the death of loved ones?
These were so many words which were thrusts of the sword that I am amazed they did not cause my death. I have never understood the Blessed Virgin’s anguish beside the cross as now.
I die a hundred times each day; my grief is excessive, it is beyond words. When I am beside him my heart is riven; but I pull myself together and speak to him of God. He follows affectionately all I say, but when I am not with him, I feel desolate. I carry a mental picture of him always present to me: what he means and has meant to me, and I to him. I carry in my mind memories going back over thirteen years.
I am in continual agony; I would die if I did not find relief from time to time in an outburst of sobbing and copious tears. I do not think any of my children love me like he does. It could be said he modelled his heart and mind on mine, or, to phrase it better, this happened wholly naturally. Never was there such a broad likeness of thoughts, feelings, opinions, tastes, outlook. Did he not say to me a score of times that his trust in me knew no bounds, that he wished his every thought, feeling or desire to be an open-book to me? Is not the memory of such a union enough to bring tears to my eyes and plunge me into the bitterest of sorrows? God! you are separating two hearts made to be ever united. However, this will not be for long.
Eugene de Mazenod: Notes on Fr. Suzanne’s illness, January 1829, EO XV n 158
“The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” Thornton Wilder