A godly widow told me not long after her husband’s death that she kept feeling he was around. Sometimes she would find herself talking to him. This is not everyone’s reaction to bereavement, but it is unlikely to be unusual. It would be quite unnatural not to miss your life-partner of fifty years. In the privacy of our homes we can deal with things in our own way.
But then comes the public expression of loss. A pre-eminent example was our new King’s address (at the close of an otherwise moving tribute) to his late mother the day following her death. I have been accustomed for many years to hearing similar tributes at funerals which finish with such words as an emotional ‘Daddy, we love you’ or ‘Grandma you will always be in our hearts’.
But who is being addressed? Where is he or she? With people of no religious belief, one puts such language down to sentimentality or a humanistic worldview.