Yesterday my family attended the funeral visitation of a dear friend's mother. Since we attend a rather informal church, finding suitable dress clothes in the closets of my children proved to be harder than a snapping turtle shell. "Why can't I wear my long sleeved superhero shirt? It's clean." "But I don't have any black dresses which match my ruby red slippers." "How about this orange t-shirt, Mom?" Seriously.
On the trip, Buck and I inquired of the children if they ever remembered seeing a dead person. "I know I have, but I don't really remember.", Peace answered. I asked if anyone was afraid to which Pooh Bear replied, "In an Odyssey story on tape, one of the character's grandma dies and says she just looks like she's sleeping. So, I'm not scared at all."
When we arrived at the funeral home, Buck gave the solemn behavior speech. And it worked. My children behaved like gems. They sat and charmingly chatted with all kinds of people inside and ran around like crazy men outside entertaining my friend's active seven year old son, Joseph.
Joseph asked anyone who would give him the time of day to explain just exactly what his grandma was doing in heaven at that very moment. When it was my turn, I mentioned I knew about lions and lambs lying down there together and the horses in Revelation. I told Joseph, "Do you suppose she's riding a white horse or petting the furry mane of real lion?" Pooh Bear told him she thought his grandma was having a fun time walking on streets of gold. His mother suggested Grandma might be swimming with all kinds of shining fishes which excited Joseph to exclaim, "And I bet she doesn't even have to come up for air."
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Pooh Bear approach the coffin alone, and she softly spoke. She stroked the grandmother's fingers. Pooh Bear explained later, "I was wishing her to have a good time in heaven and smelling the wonderful flowers."
Birth and death feel so very sacred. This particular sacred life ended with a daughter holding her mother's hand in her palm and the other gripping an oxygen mask hovering over her mother's face as the elastic had become unbearable. The mother gently whispered, "Let me go." to which the daughter nodded simple consent.
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