Matthew Brower column: The thinning veil

Having grown up in the Midwest, one of the things I appreciate about living in Montana is the near ever-present sight of snow on the highest peaks. I love the contrast of snow-capped mountains against the bright blue sky of a warm summer day. It reminds me that seasons come and go and life is a series of beginnings and endings, hellos and goodbyes.

I just returned from a two-week stay in Minnesota spending time with my wife’s family. The joyful occasion of a nephew’s wedding — a season of “hellos”— brought us back to Duluth. The opportunity to spend time with in-laws entering the final sorrowful chapters of life marked by dementia and physical decline — a season of “goodbyes” — invited us to remain for an extended visit.

While still filled with plenty of happy and humorous moments, this time with family was sadder than most. We don’t know the precise moment, but for some of them death is approaching. The veil between this life and the next is thinning. Interestingly, in the midst of this very real grief and sorrow there was also a pervasive holy sense of hope.

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