March 09, 2009

Peggy's Funeral

Funerals are always a mix of emotions for me. I seldom get through without at least a few tears, and today was no exception. Peggy died at a nursing home and was 76 years old. She had lived a life of loving God and others faithfully, and is remembered with grateful hearts. Her last years were spent in the agony of Alzheimer's, and her family and very close friends were forced to say a gradual goodbye long before her actual death. Saying goodbye is never easy, but prolonged farewells are all the more painful. And so her family rejoices that she is freed from the disease that imprisoned her mind and body; but weep, because they miss her, and have missed her for some time.

It's rather a shame that we cannot be present at our own funerals, to see the love expressed in tears, hear the kind remembrances and visit with everyone who has come to celebrate our lives. But then, that will be part of the remarkable joy of Heaven, when we will be whole, and goodbyes will be a thing of the past. "No more night, no more pain; no more tears, never cryin' again," as one songwriter put it.

And so, once again, this funeral brought tears as well as laughter, as we celebrated a life well-lived, and I contemplated my own demise and deliverance from this life to that Eternal. I am grateful to Peggy for her life, and to her family for the tender transparency of their grief... And I am grateful for the mix of emotions that I felt... for the longing in my heart to live life well and then to go Home.