Saturday, February 20, 2016

Donum Lacrimarum: The Gift of Tears / Hinc Illae Lacrimae: Hence Those Tears

While reading a recent Latin tweet from the Pope, I smiled today, bitter-sweetly, to see the word Lacrimae, 'tears'.

"Certain tears can break and convert."

This captures the sentiment that tears, those things of pain and sorrow, can also soothe and heal.

This reminded me of the Latin quote:

Hinc Illae Lacrimae
"Hence Those Tears"
(Terence, Andria 126)

Thus, at times, tears are truly warranted and expected.

I am personally rather easily given to tears. While a young male, concerned with societal expectations, I staunched them; in adulthood and unconcerned with anyone's judgement I, like John Boehner, can and will flow rivers of tears at a moment of emotional import or a particularly sentimental scene in a movie.

The Pope has spoken before about the "Gift of Tears" (Donum Lacrimarum). He tweeted about it back on April 9, 2015:

"Give to us, O Lord, the gift of tears..."

I am grateful that I have this release so freely--particularly today.

My aunt--the wife of my mother's brother--was buried today. 

"She was preceded in death by her daughter Vickie..." states her obituary.

I have no memories of my cousin Vickie, who died in 1968, when I was two. She died of childhood leukemia, very treatable today, but not so then. Growing up, she was like the missing piece of the puzzle. The cousin spoken of, in sad tones, but whom I never met.

When we would travel from Madison to visit relatives in towns west from there, we would stop to visit her grave. My maternal grandparents were also subsequently buried there, and so later we would stop to visit all three of them. 

 Her tombstone has engraved upon it the symbol of an Angel.  As a result, I always looked upon her as a type of Guardian Angel for our Family. 

She had gone before us all, even her own grandparents, and I trusted that she watched over us however she could in the next realm.

I have a relationship with her still, in that I pray for her daily and ask her to pray for me.

Her father, my mother's brother--and the funniest person I have ever met--passed away in 2005. He was buried beside his daughter, Vickie. 

And today, her mother was buried beside them.

And so, I'm typing this now through the distortion of tears through my vision.

I can never know the depth of the loss my aunt and uncle felt all these years. But it has now come to a sort of rest.  

For them.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Requiescant in pace et Lux Perpetua luceat eis.
"Rest eternal grant until them, O Lord. May they rest in peace and may Perpetual Light shine upon them."

May their memory be eternal. May they rest now in a Place of Brightness.

forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit
"Perhaps some day it will help to remember even these things"
(Vergil, Aeneid 1.203) 

If you're interested in Latin or ancient history, or even just an entertaining read, check out the time-travel thriller In Saecula Saeculorum. Click to learn more.

You'll travel back to ancient Rome on a harrowing mission to save the modern world. It's the adventure of four lifetimes.


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