In March 1865, the son of Mr. C—, in business in a little town near Paris, had come home to his parents, dangerously ill. This young man, in his twenty-first year, feeling that his last moment had come, called his mother to him, and found the strength to kiss her once more. The mother, bathed in tears, replied to his kiss by saying, “Go before me, my son; I shall not be long in following you!” As she said this, she rushed out of the room, her face hidden in her hands.
Those who witnessed this painful scene supposed the mother’s exclamation to have been only the outburst of a grief that would be softened by time and reason; and, the young man having expired immediately afterwards, they tried to find her, to inform her of the event. She was found dead in the garret, where she had hanged herself on quitting her son. The funeral of the two took place together.
(Evocation of the Son, several days after the event)
Q. Are you aware of the death of your mother, who killed herself in despair at losing you? A. Yes, and but for the grief which has been caused me by her fatal act, I should be perfectly
happy. My poor dear mother! She could not bear the trial of this momentary separation, and she has taken, in the hope of being reunited with the son she loved so dearly, the road which must necessarily keep her far from him, and, alas! for a long, long time! She has thus delayed, indefinitely, the reunion that would have so soon taken place if her soul had been filled with submission to the designs of the Almighty, and if she had resigned herself, with humility and repentance to the trial that she had to undergo, and the expiation that would have purified her!
Pray, oh pray for her! And you, mothers, who are touched by the sad recital of her death, take care not to imitate her fault! Do not imagine that her love, for the son who was her joy and her pride, was greater than that of other mothers; no, it was not that she loved more than others, but she lacked courage and resignation. Mothers, who hear me, when you behold the eyes of your children closed in death, remember that, like Christ, they have climbed to the top of the Calvary from which they will rise into the glory of the higher life! Benjamin C –.
(Evocation of the Mother) – I must see my son! Have you the power to give him back to me?...How cruel they are!...they have taken him from me, to carry him away into the light, and they have left me in darkness!...I must and will have him...he belongs to me!...is a mother’s love nothing?...What! To have carried him nine months in my bosom, to have nourished him with my milk, building up his flesh, his blood with my blood...to have guided his first steps...to have taught him to lisp the holy name of God and the sweet name of mother...to have made of him a man, full of activity, intelligence, honesty, uprightness, and filial affection...and to lose him just when he was beginning to fulfill the hopes we had cherished in regard to him, and when a brilliant career was opening before him! No; God is not just; He is not the God of mothers; He understands nothing of their despair and their sorrow...and when I killed myself, that I may not quit my child, they take him from me a second time!...My son! My son! Where are you?
The Evoker - Poor mother! We feel for your sorrow; but you have taken the worst of all means for rejoining your son. Suicide is a crime in the sight of God, and you ought to have foreseen that He punishes every infraction of His laws. Your punishment is to be deprived of the sight of your child.
The Mother - I thought that God was more merciful than men! I did not believe in His Hell, but in the eternal reunion of souls who have loved as we loved. I was mistaken...He is not a just and good God, for He has not understood the immensity of my grief and of my love! Ah! Who will give me back my son? Have I lost him forever? Take pity on me, O God!”
The Evoker - You must try to be calmer. Remember, if there is any way of obtaining a sight of your child, it is not through blaspheming God, as you are doing. Instead of attracting to yourself the Divine pity, you are preparing still severer punishment for yourself.
The Mother - They told me I should never see him again; I understood that they were taking him away to Paradise. Am I, then, in Hell?...the Hell of mothers?...It exists; I see it but too plainly!
The Evoker - Your son is not lost to you forever. Believe me, you will certainly see him again; but you must deserve this favor by your submission to the Divine will, whereas, by your rebellion, you must delay that moment indefinitely. Listen to me; God is indefinitely good, but He is infinitely just. He never punishes without a cause; and, if He visited you with a great sorrow in your earthly life, it must have been because you had deserved it. Your son’s death was a trial of your resignation; unhappily you succumbed to it during your life, and now you are succumbing to it again, after your death! How can you suppose that God will favor His children while they rebel against Him? But He is not inexorable; He always welcomes the repentance of the guilty. If you had accepted, without murmuring and with humility, the trial imposed on you by a momentary separation, and if you had patiently awaited the time appointed for you to quit the Earth, you would at once have seen your son, on entering the world in which you are. He would have come to meet you with open arms, and you would have had the delight of seeing him radiant with joy at meeting you again after a period of absence. What you did, and what you are still doing, puts a barrier between you and him. Don’t imagine that he is far off, in the depths of space - no - he is nearer to you than you suppose; but he is hidden from you by an impenetrable veil. He sees you; he loves you still; he is grieved for the painful position in which you are placed by your want of confidence in God; he longs, with all the force of his affection for you, for the happy moment when he will be permitted to show himself to you; it depends entirely on yourself to hasten or to delay that moment. Raise your heart to God, now, repeating the prayer I am going to say for you: “Forgive me, O my God! for having doubted Your justice and Your goodness! I acknowledge that, if You have punished me, I must have deserved the punishment. Deign, O my God! to accept my repentance and my submission to Your holy will!”
The Mother - What a blessed gleam of hope you have made to shine into my soul! It has lighted up the night in which I was plunged! Thanks; I will continue to pray. Farewell. C ––.
In the case of this spirit, suicide did not produce the illusion that leads one who is dead to think himself still living. On the contrary, the mother’s soul is perfectly aware of its situation. In some cases, the punishment of suicide consists on that illusion, in the persistence of the links that attach the spirit to the body. The woman in question voluntarily quitted the Earth to follow her son into the other life; it was, therefore, necessary that she would know herself to be in that other life, in order that she might be punished by her inability to find him. Her punishment was, precisely, to know that she was no longer living the life of the flesh, and to have the consciousness of her real position. We see, therefore, that each fault is punished by the special circumstances which accompany its punishment, and that there is no uniform and unvarying chastisement for faults of the same kind.