I think I have told you before that I was not allowed to go to funerals as a child. (Sometimes I feel like I am becoming an old person quickly, telling the same stories over and over again!) My parents thought it would scare me or damage me somehow if I went to one, ever. Even as a teenager I wasn’t allowed.
As with a lot of things they did, it caused more harm than good.
I was in my 30’s before I went to my first funeral, but since then have been to many. When Tim worked for the church as their tech guy for awhile, I ended up not only going to many funerals, but actually worked a few running sound and lights myself.
As scared as I was to go to my first funeral after years of dire warnings from my parents, I actually became somewhat comfortable with them. When it was people I barely knew from church I began to cherish the time to hear more about that person, their family. I will always get choked up, there is no way I can see another person cry and not tear up myself. But seeing the love of family and hearing the stories of these people was comforting and beautiful.
When my mom died, I really didn’t get that closure, that feeling of family brought together to see their loved one off. No music, no flowers, no scripture, no peace.
It all made me see these events in a different light. It made me appreciate that time of gathering and remembering a life together.
Many times funerals, or memorials if you prefer, are called a celebration. While I have grown to appreciate the feelings and the sentiments of these events, I have rarely felt they were really celebratory- until Tuesday.
I told you that we lost our sweet brother in law. His memorial was this past Tuesday. While the service was lovely and packed full of people from all over, it was what I was accustomed to- hymns, scripture, etc.
Afterwards was a whole different story.
Instead of the quiet, somber visitation before services that I have seen before, there was a reception afterwards. With the party atmosphere that Eddie had requested, the room was filled with flowers, pictures, people, food and drink. It was mostly filled with stories, stories of a guy who had lived a big life full of love.
The pictures in an album near where I was sitting brought up so many family memories that we had all had together. Pictures of all of us, including Tim’s late mom, wearing the goofy Christmas gift hats that I mentioned before in a prior post made me laugh instead of cry.
The whole atmosphere screamed love, laughter, hope, and CELEBRATION! It didn’t make me sorrowful that we had lost Eddie, it made me so thankful that I had had time celebrating life with Eddie.
One story that was brought up, that I couldn’t believe I forgot to write about the other day, was about pecan pie. I love pecan pie! Since I don’t like chocolate, I miss out on lots of dessert. I don’t have a really sweet tooth and prefer a salty snack to a sweet, but I do like a bite of something sweet at the end of a good meal. So many times the only choices in a restaurant or at someone’s house is chocolate of some sort. I just can’t. I don’t like the taste or even the smell of chocolate. Weird, I know. I like pretty much anything else, just no chocolate!
Eddie made fabulous pecan pie. He would make it for Christmas dessert the years we ate at their house and eventually I just began asking him to make some and bring them to our house when it was our turn to host Christmas dinner. There was no dessert that I could make that would be better than his pies.
When he realized how much I loved it and how often I got shut out of dessert because of the chocolate thing, he began making a pie just for me. After the meal was over, he would bring forth one more pie and tell me not to let the two “sweat hogs” in my house eat a single bite- it was all for me!
Needless to say, I couldn’t eat it all by myself and I ended up sharing, but I would never have told Eddie that! I just felt honored that he would take the time and thought to make a pie all for me. I think I will have a hard time eating pecan pie again for awhile. It will never be as good!
Thinking back over the memorial a couple of days afterwards, I know that I want for people to quote scripture, sing hymns, and talk about all of the usual things during my service someday. But what I really want is what Eddie got. A big celebration of love, laughter, lots of stories, food and drink. An atmosphere of true celebration and joy, remembering our times together.
And I have no doubt that when my day comes, no matter how far from now it might be, Eddie will be waiting on me with a smile on his face and a pecan pie in his hand. And that folks, will be heaven!