I went to a funeral the other day. It was for a lady called Mary. I have known Mary my whole life. Her children babysat me and lead my Sunday School classes, I was then friends with thier children and the circles go on and on.
I heard about Mary’s funeral and wondered whether I should go or not. I thought about all the connections I had with this lovely lady and all of her descendants over many, many years and realised that I was being given a chance to celebrate in a life well lived.
Mary passed away in her sleep at 90. She had not been very well for a long while and was certainly ready to be in heaven. Her children were lovingly by her bedside up until hours before she slipped quietly away.
I went to the funeral telling myself I would not cry. I was going to remember a lovely family and to show a bit of support to long lost friends. The service was lovely. Reverent with just the right amount of irreverance, a Dutch speciality. The obilgitory photo powerpoint at the end of weddings and grandchildren, swimsuits and hairstyles, holidays and picnics had us laughing and ooohing. It was lovely.
One of Mary’s sons read out a brief history of his mother’s life. Born in Holland, engaged during the war, married at the end of the war, three children, immigrate to Australia, live her, move here, more children, accident here, move here, family death, premature grandchildren, illnesses, business ventures… in a few short minutes, her life was …. summarised.
At the moment, we are thinking some pretty big things around here. Big things. Big grown up things. Words being bantered around are ‘Mortgages’, ‘Insurance’, ‘Commissions’, ‘Adventures’, ‘Possibilities’… On the surface, there appears to be nothing happening, but… you know, plans and preparations and dreams and goals are being bantered about in the undercurrents.
But… in a year, or two or three, this time in our lives will be a blip. A bump. Infact, when it comes time for our children to speak at our funerals, this patch in our lives will not even be mentioned as it hasn’t really affected the children. And really, there is nothing to even notice…. they are just ideas, pieces of fluff, bits of this and that, suspended in time.
It has helped to have things put into perspective. Funerals are good like that. Life is so much bigger than the here and now. It is bigger than the problems yesterday and it is bigger than all the problems tomorrow may bring. I am so thankful for this reminder. I am thankful that I can take a step back from our stuff and know that we will be okay. Things will settle for us. Things will work out just fine.
I spoke to one of the daughters after the funeral and was kind of suprised when she said that she wasn’t sad. She was relieved. I have been thinking about this too. When you have lived a long and lovely life, and your last days have been in discomfort, pain and confusion; when you have seen your children change from being cared for to being carers; when you have seen your grandchildren have children and live thier lives well – passing on would not seem so hard. Being able to see the legacy you have begun continue in good hands would be so wonderful.
The challenge for me is to continue to sow into the here and now, to enjoy my children and my friends and my family. To ensure my children have good stories to tell at my funeral, with just the right amount of irreverence. To know that I will be leaving my children well equipped to look after the next generation. To leave a legacy.
Just like Mary did.
Thankful Thursday I love the way you make me think…
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