Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Ashes to ashes February 18, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,
Photographed at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, New Trier, MN. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo March 2017.

ASH WEDNESDAY PASSED yesterday not without my lack of awareness of this special day in the Christian church. Rather, I experienced the day with an acute awareness rooted in a recent personal loss—the death of my father-in-law.

Now, a day after the Wednesday symbolizing death and repentance and the beginning of Lent, I am thinking of my husband’s father, his funeral and burial only one week ago.

…for dust you are and to dust you will return—Genesis 3:19.

I doubt any words can better describe the reality of death. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. That’s basic. Understandable. Maybe uncomfortable for some. But it’s truth. We’re all going to die, whether at age 90 like my father-in-law or age 19 like my nephew Justin in 2001. Sometimes death takes our loved ones way too soon.

Last Thursday, as we celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for Tom and heard the priest speak those familiar words of dust to dust, grief and reality descended. Yet, as a woman of faith, hope balances that in the belief that I will see my loved ones again in heaven. Dad Helbling. Justin. My dad and grandparents and many aunts and uncles…and others I’ve had the joy of loving. For to love is to also open one’s heart to grief. And to hope.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


8 Responses to “Ashes to ashes”

  1. valeriebollinger Says:

    “For to love is to also open one’s heart to grief. And to hope.” So true.


    I had never heard of that hymn. But since I am not Catholic I would not have. But I appreciated the few paragraphs you wrote. Most appropriate on Ash Wednesday!


  3. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    Poignant, faith based thoughts. Dad died Mar. 14, 1957, my confirmation year. Loss as Christ begins the walk to the cross in Lent and Easter take on strong reflection meaning for a lifetime. We pray for an early Spring, definitely helps. Peace to you and yours now and in the future……

  4. Missy’s Crafty Mess Says:

    Deep grief equals a deep love but at least we have a heavenly reunion to look forward too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.