Via Dolorosa means sorrowful road. It usually refers to the road where Christ took his last walk to the place where he died. I thought of these words, Via Dolorosa, when I saw a movie called The Way. It is about a father whose adult son died unexpectedly while traveling in Europe. The father and son had not seen eye- to- eye in recent years. The father was a successful ophthalmologist. The son wanted to see the world and experience different cultures , even if it meant not acquiring a nice house, cars, and other material possessions. The son had invited his dad to come to Europe with him, but his father turned him down. The father receives a phone call notifying him that his son has died. I can relate to this as that is how I found out about my 24 year old son’s sudden death.
The father travels to France to bring home his son’s body. He learns that his son had died on a pilgrimage to Spain, a popular spiritual journey on a particular route that many people had taken. The father decides to complete this two month walk in his son’s place. He sprinkles his son’s ashes along The Way. The pilgrimage becomes a healing journey, in which he comes to terms with his son’s death and makes amends.
I can relate to this journey along the road where a son has died. My 24 year-old son died in a triathlon, having biked eight miles up a mountain road and then collapsed. I have taken this path almost every month since he died, albeit in a car. I put flowers at the memorial marker his friends placed at the spot where my son fell. I meditate about this sorrowful road, and mourn the loss of my son. [Photo: Less than one mile from where David died. Photographer, Katherine Jones, Idaho Statesman.]
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