Another Hallelujah on Good Friday
Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group - Madison, NJ
Post date: Apr 19, 2019
Good Friday 2019
Today is a day where Christians around the world are deep in prayer. Good Friday commemorates the passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In fact the entire Easter Triduum, from Holy Thursday thru Easter Sunday are a period for reflection about our lives and our faith.
For our family and friends, it also carries the memories of our son John's death. On Good Friday ten years ago, John died by suicide. John was diagnosed with bipolar disorder just three months before his tragic death. His brain betrayed him as he struggled to cope with the world around him. He was suffering and his suicide was unfortunately how he ended his pain. Our son who was filled with grace and love had lost his earthly battle with mental illness.
As active Catholics, that Easter Triduum was also one of reflection for us as we were surrounded by family, friends and the pastor of our church. We gathered daily at our home and cried and prayed for answers. On Easter Sunday our pastor said mass in our family room. It was a time of deep reflection about faith and love.
Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and the promise of life everlasting for the faithful. That belief carried me through the early days. My wife and I knew John was active in his faith and a friend recently reminded us that they remember him coming to pray in his uniform after his Tae Kwon Do lessons. He joked that praying the Stations of the Cross was a good workout with all of the kneeling and standing.
One tradition of the Catholic faith is that we drop the singing or praying of “Alleluia” from religious services during Lent and start singing it again with trumpets on Easter Sunday. Hallelujah or the traditional Greek spelling, “Alleluia” , are calls for giving joyous praise to God. So when it came time to choose an exit song for John's Mass of Resurrection ( funeral mass) just three days after Easter, I knew in my heart what song it would be.
We chose “Another Hallelujah” by Christian rocker Lincoln Brewster. While the basic cords come from Leonard Cohen's classic song, Lincoln Brewster’s lyrics and performance are all about praise and thanksgivings. The soaring guitar riffs and crescendo of praise and joy touched my heart. Several weeks before his death, I remember John learning to play this version of the song.
While we were devastated by John death, we knew his suffering was over and he was safe in the hands of God. He had been given a brand new start. He was surrounded by choirs of angels. He was now in a great place and in many ways his life was just truly beginning. The lyrics of the song resonated with my heart.
So I sit here today on Good Friday thinking about John and contemplating my life and faith. I know that I will start singing Alleluia in church on Easter Sunday, but in my heart and thoughts I am singing “Another Hallelujah” today in remembrance of our son.
Lyrics by Lincoln Brewster
I love you lord, with all my heart
You've given me, a brand new start
I just wanna sing this song to you
It goes like this: the 4th the 5th,
the minor fall, the major lift
My heart and soul are praising "hallelujah"
I know that you're, the God above
You're filling me, with grace and love
I just wanna say "thank you" to you
You've pulled me from the miry clay
You've given me a brand new day
Now all that I can say is "hallelujah"