I accompanied Mrs. K to a funeral this morning for a man I have never met. In addition, I suspect Mrs. K had ever met the deceased man either. Yet somewhere in the vastness of her fuzzy memory, she stood firm in her belief that she was a friend of the deceased man’s parents and possibly a Godmother to one of his siblings. So out of the respect she held for his parents, long time gone from this earth, she needed to attend his funeral. Unlike the last funeral I attended with her, not one person of the deceased man’s family recognized her.
Yet I couldn’t help but feel a kinship toward the family of the deceased man. Not for any of the parallels, I found when I read his obituary, but rather, because now like me, his family knows the pain of losing a parent during the Christmas holiday season.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn, it sucks.
The Priest, after giving a beautiful Eulogy about the deceased man, looked at his family, children and grandchildren and expertly espoused “I’ll bet, if given the opportunity to talk to you one more time he’d tell you he was ready to go and insist on telling you not to grieve for him too long. Rather go and continue to live, engage, laugh and love with others here on earth. Go with mercy and prepare your own way to heaven.”
If I had been given the opportunity to engage with his family, I think I would have tried to impart one more idea or thought to help them manage the next few days ahead. Christmas isn’t just about celebrating the birth of a child. No, at Christmas we celebrate the joy and wonder that accompanies all the LOVE born into the world that day. So, this Christmas try not to allow tears of sadness and grief to overwhelm your celebration. Instead, revel in the joy and peace and the knowledge that that same love came together to create and welcome you into this world as well.
Ten years removed from my own mother’s death, four days past Christmas, I can also say without reservation, easier said than done.