Give Rest, O Lord!

Pannikhida on the 9th day, in the cemetery. Konstantine Savitsky, 1885. (Widipedia). Pannikhida on the 9th day, in the cemetery. Konstantine Savitsky, 1885. (Widipedia).

A candle burns on the table for the reposed, weeping waxen tears. My heart also weeps vaguely... how are you over there? How are you?...

Give rest, O Lord!...

Then a familiar plot, dusted with snow. Well hello my dear! Here we are, we’ve finally made it here on ancestor Saturday.

“Mama, mama, is that your grandma?”

Do you see—my two sons. They look just like you. And my husband, the priest, serving a litia on your grave. Everything has come together in my life just as you dreamed. Only, we can’t invite you over, we can talk about our daily difficulties and problems, I can’t listen to your advice… But you didn’t even make it to our wedding, and you dreamed of it so… But we won’t talk about the sad things.

Give rest, O Lord!

I remember every little detail of every corner of your apartment. A huge book shelf, where you spent so much time, a long, dark corridor, icons in wooden cases. My memory obligingly also preserves the inimitable aroma of herbal tea, our long sitting together, and searching the stars at night. And I also remember how we would go every evening at the summerhouse to watch the sunset over the river.

And our favorite park… Meandering walks tearing me away from my usual daily rush, the rustling of tall pine trees and the singing of birds. Sakharov, Solzhenitsyn, Vyshnevskaya, Rastropovich, Pogudin… You never ran out of things to talk about.

Now I see everything that seemed mundane and ordinary in a completely different light…

Give rest, O Lord!...

And you know, I stopped dreaming about you only recently. Exhaustion and lack of sleep took the upper hand. But before that, for several years in a row I would dream with enviable consistency the same thing: that you are alive. I would chide you saying, “You frightened me!” and talk, talk, talk… telling you everything. Then I would suddenly wake up. Such was the work of my subconscious…

Give rest, O Lord!...

You looked death in the face long before it came, when you were hit with the terrible diagnosis of cancer. The doctors said there was no chance. But you survived. It was God’s miracle. And you lived nearly twenty years after that. Almost twenty years of “new” life, in which Christ and His Church occupied first place.

I remember how you came to the conclusion, sighing, “After all, what happiness it is to be able to walk to church yourself and pray!” And how you suffered the price of those words…

Give rest, O Lord!

Death. It came without warning. Like a thunderbolt across a clear sky—grandpa’s phone call, a taxi, the ambulance doctor with a death statement. And then, as in a fog, the forty days.

On that day, as usual on the feast of one of our favorite saints—the Healer Panteleimon—a trip to a holy spring in his honor had been planned. Liturgy in the morning, Holy Communion… and after the meal you were no longer with us. Perhaps that is how it should have been for someone who for so many years had prayed for a “peaceful end”? And you always added, “Lord forbid that I ever be a burden on anyone in my old age, that they should have to take care of me.” You are no longer here, and no one is taking care of you.

Give rest, O Lord!...

When I was a teenager you would often take me with you to another town, to your parents’ grave. I just didn’t get it: Why are you talking with stone slabs in a graveyard? Oh, alright, I thought, everyone has their quirks.

Well, you know, lately I’ve been suffering from the same quirk…

Ksenia Manyakova
Translation by

18 февраля 2017 г.

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