Saturday, April 28, 2012
The Hardest Part
I went to a funeral today. It was for my dear friend, Kelley's, mother-in-law. Just four short weeks ago Faye was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. It had already spread to her liver and elsewhere in her body. Faye was 80 years old and she told her family that she had elected to do nothing about this cancer. The family did not object to her decision. She was told she may have a few months to live. Faye lasted almost 4 weeks. So fast. My friend prayed for her to not suffer and to just go ahead and die. The "Death Watch" we endure. This sounds so awful to the non-believer but Faye knew the Lord and death has no sting for those that know Him. The last few days she started to suffer and it was a relief for her to go into the presence of God. The funeral home was last night. I waited for a long time in the line and when I got into the visitation room I viewed a family that was mostly smiles. Hugging people and thanking them for coming. Visitors telling them all the things we say at funeral homes. " I am praying for y'all. She was such a wonderful woman. She will be so missed." Or some just said nothing at all. Just hugged. This "Death Ballet" we orchestrate through. I watched at the funeral today her grandson Paul preach the funeral for his maw-maw. Hard stuff. Paul is Kelley's son and she is so proud of him. She should be. Wonderful sermon and tribute to his maw-maw. Before the family came in I watched the funeral director walk forward slowly and with such a gentle hand he closed the casket. I never really paid attention before at other funerals to this action. The last face on earth to see Faye lying there was a stranger. The next person to see her from this earth won't be a stranger. Each one of us die. Not getting out of it unless Jesus comes back first. One of the many blessings of the whole death business is seeing our loved ones that know God in heaven. Paul will see his maw-maw again. Kelley will see her again. After the graveside prayers were over I hugged my friend. She just cried and said, "I didn't think today would be hard, but it is. It's the hardest part." I agree. Leaving the living is hardest for the living. Really hard. Yes, for the Christian we know we will see them again and spend eternity together. But until that day comes. It is just plain hard. My other friend, Tracy lost a lifetime friend this week too. I also knew Myra. She was just 48 when cancer stole her life. This has been a very tough week for our intimate community. Very tough. Time will pass. We will go on living. We will laugh more and cry less until there comes a day when we talk of them and no tears flow at all. It does get easier, but for now it is just hard.