Details removed, out of respect and privacy
Just over a year ago I reflected on the funeral of a dear friend, and now I come to another one, that of the husband of a sweet lady who occasionally joins in worship at my local church. This week she and her husband would have been married 64 years! Who can understand her grief and that of the family?
The order of service was headed, ‘A Service of Celebration for the life of DETAILS REMOVED, *th March 1926 - *th November 2012’. The Crematorium was absolutely packed with family, friends and acquaintances. Everyone was dressed in black; colourful flowers atop the coffin were in sharp contrast. With clarity and an unfaltering voice the presbyter opened the service with a short prayer. Then one of the deceased’s daughters read a poem she had composed:
I know we are all feeling a little bit sad,
That we’ve lost our grandad, our friend and our dad
Together we have cried an ocean of tears
As we feel so empty and hold many fears
But grandad would want us all to know he’s in a good place
And that he is watching us all with a smile on his face
As we have made him so proud, as proud as can be
That he raised such a beautiful and special family
Although he has gone we will always be together
And his spirit will live on each one of us forever
When you look to the sky, look for the brightest star
As that will be grandad looking down on us from afar
There was a short hymn and a second poem by another daughter:
Gone but not forgotten
We sat beside your bedside
Our hearts were crushed
We did our best to the end
Till we could do no more
In tears we watched
We watched you fade away
An though our hearts were breaking
We knew you could not stay.
You left behind some
That loved you most sincere;
We never shall and never will
Forget you father dear.
I’ll leave you to image the presbyter’s words as he summarised significant events of this man’s life and those of his wife and family – such a difficult thing to do within the time restrictions of a busy crematorium – and yet it was a dignified service, one of sadness mingled with joy over moving memories – a true celebration of a unique life.
The funeral is over. Times will be difficult, especially for his wife and close family for whom prayers will be said over coming weeks. The finality of death can be so hard, and yet for those who believe in a loving God who opens His arms to those whom He loves and those who love Him, there is a bright future, a glorious future. Our time here on earth is but a sojourn, but there is a wonderful eternal future for those who are willing to take hold of the Lord’s hand.
Matthew 11:29, 30 ‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.’