St. John Paul II had a tragic childhood, losing his mother when he was nine years old, and losing his only brother soon after. Yet, despite these painful losses, John Paul II was able to overcome his grief and strive for holiness, living with an infectious joy that captivated the world.
At the same time, his mother’s early death did have a profound impact on his life, and he later reflected on it when composing a poem during the spring of 1939, when John Paul II was 19 years old.
The poem expresses his grief, but at the same time, looks forward to the future. It is a poem of hope, recognizing the promise of eternal life in Heaven, while also mourning the loss of his mother.
John Paul II’s words unlock for us a glimpse into his heart and also the proper Christian response to death. While death is a tragedy, it also opens us up to the glories of Heaven.
Over this, your white gravethe flowers of life in white–so many years without you–how many have passed out of sight?Over this your white gravecovered for years, there is a stirin the air, something upliftingand, like death, beyond comprehension.Over this your white graveoh, mother, can such loving cease?for all his filial adorationa prayer:Give her eternal peace–