I don’t know about you, but I like going to funerals. Some of my sweetest, most tender memories are from a time when someone has passed away.
I recall when my grandmother passed away. She had been under hospice care for some time, and while not unexpected, it still came as a shock. My mother was at Granny’s house tending to details and called me at home to have me call Charlene Graham to let her know Granny had passed. So I gave this long-time family friend a call and passed the news on from Mom. Less than 30 minutes later the doorbell rang. It was Charlene with a plate full of food for us. She said more would be coming from other friends. I was blown away and decided I wanted to be a Charlene Graham when I grew up.
The thing I love most about funerals is getting to see old friends. When my parents passed it was a precious time going back to the church I grew up in, seeing all these familiar faces that I hadn’t seen in years. Lots of hugs, sweet condolences and memories shared, and SO MUCH FOOD. You could almost call it a reunion of sorts, and I think my husband said it best: times like these must be what heaven is like.
When my grandfather passed away a few years after Granny, I mentioned to my sister that I was a bit disappointed that Honey didn’t have more friends show up for his service. She looked at me like I’d lost my mind and reminded me that Honey had probably outlived all of them (he was 96 when he died). Honey had always liked making people laugh, and he even did so after his death. My cousin remarked that she had never laughed so hard at a funeral. At the graveside service I remarked about the lovely albeit small arrangement of roses on Honey’s casket. My sister asked me if I recognized the arrangement. I told her I just assumed it was a small sample of what he had had in his backyard. She looked at me with a wry smile and said “No, that arrangement came from the label off a bottle of Four Roses Whiskey.” We both laughed heartily, as that was a very Honey thing to do.
I leave tomorrow to go to a funeral in Dallas. Bob was another long-time family friend, the oldest of six and my oldest brother’s best friend. In his family there was a kid for almost every one in my family. He, along with his sisters Cathy, Barbara and Becca, came to my mom’s service. It had been so long since I had seen any of them that I had no idea who they were. It wasn’t until Becca came up and gave me a hug that I figured it out. And as short as our time together was, my proverbial cup was filled to overflowing because they were there.
The following is one of my favorite passages from the Bible, giving us reassurance when someone we love dies, or when we face that inevitable day ourselves:
“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51–57).”
Well done, Bob. I’ll see you again one day.