A time of grieving and remembering
I work in one of the colleges, and was anxious in anticipation of the Michaelmas Term beginning. Although we had taken all sorts of precautions and made contingency plans, I found it hard to imagine what our new life together would be like. In the event, I have mostly loved having the students back. It has been so good to see them, talk to them and renew our common life together in person. The fact of being back in college after several months away made me realise how much I had missed being in the same place together.
So the pleasure in being back has emphasised the loss and separation which we have gone through. I wanted to find a way to express this, so next week we are having a Service of Grieving and Remembering. This takes inspiration from the traditional All Souls’ services at this time of year, but we are widening it to include the lost plans and hopes which we had for this year. People will have experienced a wide range of losses, including loss of health and loss of income, so we are creating a space for this to be acknowledged and offered to God.
I find there is a curious solidarity in grief, and it can be very helpful to know that you are not alone in feeling a sense of loss and disorientation. May God bless us as we navigate our way through these strange times.
Revd Susannah Reide
Chaplain and Welfare Link
Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford