This past Monday, my family buried my mom. It was tough, hard, and sad. All of it, but even those words don’t come close to explaining what I felt, what I feel. And I have to admit, I’m not sure how I feel even now as I sit down and write this.
The service was beautiful, meaningful, and moving. Those who were able had a part in it and I think mom liked it. Mom had requested that the four boys sing together on “How Great Thou Art” so my brother, Jack, asked us to be at the church early to practice with the church musical director. It was the first time in a long time we sang together and it was a special moment for me.
I had the feeling, honestly, that when we had practiced, Mom was there in the first row smiling and nodding her head like she would. She loved music. All kinds. And, she loved her family and especially liked it when we all got together.
I think the best part of the day was the visitation where family and friends gathered to tell stories, reminisce, and kid one another. We did the same at the luncheon. There was a lot of laughter. A lot of laughter. Got to see a few family members I hadn’t seen or talk to in a long, long time. That happens in families, both big and small. Too often, I think.
And just as we did at my nephew’s funeral in October, we promised to get together more often, to keep in touch, to talk or write more often. Difficult to do with busy lives, our own lives, the lives of our own kids and grandkids. Difficult to do as we work at our jobs, as we take care of our business.
A day becomes two days. Two days become a week, then a month, then a year. Even more years.
Funny thing about families.
There is an unspoken bond, a love, that unites and surpasses time and distance. Though members of a family might not see one another as often as they want, as often as they would like, there is a closeness of mind and heart and soul, of blood, that unites and binds and ties. Always. Forever. Our family is no different.
Each time we get together, even after a lengthy time away, we fall into the same comfortable rhythm, the same comfortable groove that we’ve lived in and grown up in. As we gather together, we tell the same stories and jokes that were told at each gathering, have been told and retold, and we pass them on to our kids. The young ones gather around to listen and laugh and soak it all in and eventually, they’ll pass them onto their kids. It becomes a cycle. It becomes a story of life. A story of a family.
And just as we did at my nephew’s funeral in October, we gathered together in honor of our Mom to share, to take part, to listen and to laugh. And, to weep and to mourn and to console.
We gathered together for an Ending. To celebrate a long, long life of 99 years.
And just as there is with any Ending, there is also a Beginning. Always Beginnings.
You see, I believe that life never truly ends. Life is always about birth, always about newness. Life isn’t about death, because the spirit lives on. While there is an Ending, there is and always will be Beginnings.
We might have laid my Mom in the ground next to my Father, but my Mom is not there just as I believe my Dad isn’t there. His body like her body might be, but his Life, like her Life, and his Spirit, like her Spirit live on in each of us. And because the Spirit lives on, it is a celebration of Life. It is not an Ending, but a Beginning. It isn’t and never will be about death, but about life. It’s all about life. It always has been. It always will be. Always. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!