The mourner

Here is an image of grief. A mourner, a hooded figure dressed in a cloak, has raised their hands to the face, completely covering it. The loss here is enormous, a sadness that is internal and hidden. It is an image of the never-ending nature of grief.

There are times, as at present, when death is more common, and the usual rituals of parting and funerals become disrupted and disturbed. However, grief does not go away, and cannot be processed quickly. We might not see it, but it remains, carried within the persons most affected. At a future date it will emerge, like a face uncovered, and be present for all to see.

The figure here is made of marble, sculpted to stand around the tomb of the deceased. The idea of surrounding the tomb with such figures most likely derived from an early-thirteenth-century custom of attaching tokens of sorrowful remembrance of the deceased to the sarcophagus. This figure was one of forty made for the tomb of the Duc du Berry for his tomb in Bourges, by Jean de Cambrai between 1396-1416.


For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Song of Solomon 8:6

Lord, have mercy
on those who go about in mourning all the day long,
who feel numb and crushed
and are filled with the pain of grief,
whose strength has given up,
and whose friends and neighbours are distant.
You know all our sighing and longings:
be near to us and teach us to fix our hope on you alone;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Common Worship