Friday, March 12, 2010

Savour the Moment

Today I will do the funeral for a man who celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary last summer. His wife, a very involved member, is dealing with the loss of a life partner and while she is strong this will not be easy. She does have the support of a loving family.

At the funeral home yesterday there was a video display of photos through the years. In minutes we were able to get a glimpse of their life together, from the happy looking young couple on their wedding day, through raising three children, then grandchildren, to the party for the 50th. It was a poignant reminder that life is fleeting. It made me think of the silent montage in the animated film UP! which won an Oscar on Sunday night. Karl and Ellie's life together hurries by in four minutes.

We will do our best to honour this man's life today, to share positive memories, to commend him to God's gracious care.

How well do you deal with loss? What brings you comfort?


Susan said...

Loss is not easy. In my experience, the first significant loss (whether of a loved one and/or job and/or home and/or ability and/or ...) is the most difficult. Unfortunately, loss is a process that one must work through - one can not get over it or skip it; although, there are people who bury it or try to bury it with unhealthy results. If the loss is not worked through, then the loss can become debiliating. I have found, loss is something that people feel uncomfortable talking about and because they feel uncomfortable, they don't and won't say anything to the grieving person about their loss. They don't want to further distress the grieving person. I feel that society's expectations (back to work after 5 days, life is for the living, to name a couple) are unrealistic and unhealthy. Loss can be very isolating.
I didn't handle my first significant losses very well, but I learned from working through that grief. I have family and friends that I turn too for crying, venting, laughing, and talking. If I don't contact them - they contact me and help (force) me talk and/or process my grief work.

IanD said...

I think the best way to deal with eventual loss is to ensure all of your moments are good ones leading up to it.

I used to visit and talk with both of my grandmothers every week - even through high school and university. Now that they're gone, I take comfort in the fact that I put in the time and have some great memories and learning to show for it.

It's the same with my girls at present. I remember leaving OGH with a car-seat handle in each hand and now we're three-and-a-half months away from the end of senior kindergarten! What?!

That's why, without hesitation, I will don the princess tiara for a tea party or play 16 games of UNO in succession because one day, sadly, I will not have the chance.

These days will be lost to me before I know it, and of course then, I'll have to make sure I enjoy the next stage as much as I can because ... you get the picture.

I'd like to think I do too!

johnny said...

Up until recently, I used to keep everything to myself. I would try to deal with things without burdening family and friends. However, I guess I finally saw the light. It is so important to talk about loss, anger and other emotions with those you trust and respect, in large part because when you're feeling overwhelmed it is so difficult to deal rationally or in a healthy manner with those feelings. I firmly believe that, although I am quite healthy, many of those illnesses I had over the years were due to the stress of trying to handle everything on my own. Not any more.

I visit my elderly parents every week. Each and every time, as I leave, I wonder if this will be the last time I see one of them. Because of that, I relish the time I spend with them, and the three of us spend the evening laughing. I bring my daughter around often so that she will have a good memories of time spent with her grandparents.

lionlamb said...

I am reading these responses just as I am about to head to the funeral home for the service. They are quite thoughtful, and touching. Thanks -- I hope there are more.

Laurie said...

I think Ecclesiastes 3 says it all.
This March I am remembering and mourning 2 very dear aunts who died last year at this time and the 10 year anniversary of my Dad's funeral. It is a time of sadness but also of joy and laughter as our family meets to honour them.

Deborah Laforet said...

I have been attending many funerals lately; the father of a member of our church, the eight-year old grandson of a couple from our church, and the sister of another member. I haven't had to officiate at any of them, but I have walked with those who are grieving.

It has been a very sad couple of months. I just got back from the hospital from the bedside of one who may be dying. His wife is United, but he is Catholic, so it may be another funeral that I attend.

I have been fortunate to not have the workload of planning and leading funerals, but it has still had its emotional toll on me. I find it important to talk to colleagues, spend some valuable time with my family, and express myself through my music and writing.

lionlamb said...

I agree about Ecclesiastes 3 -- I try to use it in funerals and memorials whenever possible.

There should be a meter on clergy showing when "the tank is empty." Situations of sorrow and grief will do that, whether we are conducting the services or not.