I attended a funeral this week that was executed perfectly by the loved ones of the recently departed.
It was absolutely beautiful—the visitations, the funeral church service, the gathering after the funeral. Everything about it reminded you of who this beautiful woman was, what she stood for, and who and what she had lived for.
I don’t know if every detail had been written down in advance, but enough of her wishes had been expressed, and her family knew her so intimately, that her funeral was perfection and filled with an infinite amount of love.
While talking with friends I’ve known for years this week, the subject of our own mortality and the kinds of funerals we might want came up. And most of us admitted that this subject had come up a lot in recent years mainly because many of us had lost people close to us and because pretty much everyone faced the possibility of their own mortality during the early months of Covid. Tell me I’m wrong!
We talked about whether we wanted an open casket, to be cremated, or both. We discussed cemetery burials. The spreading of ashes. We talked about traditional funerals that may or may not involve religious services. We discussed celebrations of life and good ol’ fashioned cocktail parties for saying goodbye. The myriad of ways we can say goodbye to our loved ones and friends is endless. And if you’ve ever planned a funeral for someone who didn’t make their wishes known, you know that it is a terribly painful and difficult task.
I can tell you this week’s funeral left me nostalgic for my childhood because it was 1) the funeral of one of the mother figures from my childhood, 2) held in the small, rural KY town where I grew up, 3) filled with love and memories of my childhood, 4) for the mother of my very best childhood friend and maid of honor at my wedding, and 5) for a woman who knew my own mother.
But in addition to feeling nostalgic, my memories of this woman and how her family honored her left me reflecting upon my own life.
I will remember the woman who died this week for the incredible life she lived—a life of love for God, her family, and community.
I have many memories of things she taught me throughout the years, but even in death she continues to teach me how to live. And love.
And for that, I am grateful.