In my Southern American culture, a funeral is a celebration of life for a person who lived a long, full life. I can say with certainty that John, a Yankee by birth, would have enjoyed his own funeral. He experienced what I call a “good funeral” when my dad died years ago. We were at the funeral home for two 2-hour periods when family and friends dropped by to visit. The next day we had the service at church and followed the hearse to the cemetery for a short graveside ceremony. This was a reunion of family and friends where people shared remembrances of Dad, caught up on life events, and laughed freely at funny stories. The warmth and love flowed freely, drawing us all together. There is nothing quite like a good funeral.
Our circumstances were a bit different for John. He died four hours from home, and grandson David had been with him at the train club. Caring friends spent time with David, giving him time to recover overnight before driving back here. Neighbor Shawn spent the night in our house so I wouldn’t be alone. Neighbors Bob, Logan, Jeff and his wife, Joyce, Holly, Frankie, and Lisa spent time with me and brought food. My brother Bob came for a few days, and then daughter Lise arrived from Denmark. Family and friends were in contact. How could you not see joy in life when surrounded with such love and support?
Lise and niece Chrissie did all the planning for this great gathering of kinfolks. They found the one date that worked for the most number of people. There were roughly 20 who ate dinner with us the night before the service and those 20 plus another 20 had lunch here after it. Lise’s friend Marco was the chef, who had a great round of applause at the end.
John’s sister Barbara had a birthday on the date of his funeral. Her children brought an ice cream cake, which disappeared before it could think of melting. I thought it marvelous that we celebrated an ongoing life on this particular day. The video shows all who were there except the ones that had to leave earlier.
Most funeral gatherings do not feature a magic show, but ours did. Lise knew Rick was coming, and after checking with me, asked if he would perform for us. Neighbor Logan was his assistant for one part.
Rick ended the show playing the musical saw, accompanied by his wife Myra.
The reason I could celebrate John’s life now is that I am convinced he has gone to be with the Lord. Jesus promised that he would go ahead of us to prepare a place for us. Everyone who believes that he died for our sins and rose to life again will be with him in paradise. What marvelous grace is available to us if we accept it!
Link to the video of the memorial service – vimeo.com/726313494