Good Grief

Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his faithful servants. ~Psalm 116:15

The white haired organist played the old hymns. Flowers in shades of pink adorned the chapel. People spoke in hushed tones as they dabbed away tears. Friends and family gathered to say good bye and celebrate life.

It’s a scene played out over and over again and yet, when it’s your mother, father, brother or friend, it’s no longer a common occurance because now…now it’s personal.

She lived a long, full life. Sitting in the pew, listening to adoring sons and loving grandchildren, you might think it was a perfect life. But anyone who lives knows there’s no such thing even for this lovely woman. Blessed, faith-filled and faithful yes; but not without hurt, tragedy and pain. And yet, through it all, she loved God and her family well. Passing on a legacy of strength, loyalty and trust in her Maker, her funeral honored her story but more importantly pointed everyone in the chapel to the Giver of that legacy.

Several thoughts struck me as I sat in the church during this sacred moment simultaneously mourning and celebrating.

What would she think of her own funeral?
What would my kids say about me when I die?
What would they laugh about?
Would memories spark hurt or anger about me or would love truly cover the multitude of my sins?
Would the funeral be more about me or the One to whom I belonged?

When I ordered flowers for the service, I told my talented florist friend that the most distinguishing trait about the deceased was her faith and trust in God. I couldn’t think of hobbies she had or what she loved to do. I could only think of Who she loved (well, that and the fact that she regularly prayed for the Twins–yes, the baseball team–but I didn’t want a Twinkies floral arrangment).

What would someone tell a florist about me?
At the graveside, the pastor asked the family to say just one word that described their mom and grandma.

Selfless.

Loving.

Faithful.

When I’m gone, what will those closest say about me? Will they struggle to find appropriate words or will the praises come out fast and furious like they did yesterday for this lovely, dearly loved woman?
What would I want them to say?

What do you want those nearest and dearest to you to say…

Marion R. Solfelt 6.27.1924~5.24.2011


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