Attending the funeral of a lady who had helped so much when my husband died a few years ago brought back a lot of thoughts and emotions. I’ve attended several other funerals since, and watched the broadcast funerals of those in various positions of authority (usually men and women well-loved in their communities). This funeral though was different and more painful.
I won’t name her or indicate just how I knew her family. They are dealing with such pain right now and don’t need anyone intruding on their privacy and, especially, adding to their suffering. Fortunately most of the relatives and friends have an abiding belief in the Hereafter and know very well they’ll be reunited with their dearest one when the time is right for them to be welcomed to the same place.
Even so, one look at the bereft husband’s face told me the true meaning of the word “ashen”. The shock and grief could not have been more pronounced than to see him so visibly grey as he followed the casket. It will take more than time for him to heal. Love from his family and close-knit friends will be invaluable.
When some, perhaps many, people pass on to the next life, we are not always sad to see them go. We know the world is free of their personal brand of cruelty, deception, dishonesty, and even their dangerous arrogance. If we’re feeling charitable, we may pray for their souls that they might not suffer the horror they inflicted on others. But deep-down we know certain beings probably won’t change that much and will likely remain defiant in the next world. Yet we’re not authorized to pass final judgment on them. When all is said and done, vengeance always belongs to God even if mortal legal punishments were imposed.
Then there are those good people we want to keep with us here on earth forever, or at least as long as we’re here ourselves. Such a one was my friend, though worn out in body and probably ready to leave. She truly cared about everyone she met and most of them remained in her circle. Well-schooled in the Gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ, she was a real disciple and “the real thing”.
With the loss of each good person, we ache for their presence, long to hear their laugh and to groan again at their terrible puns. We miss their spirited defense of opposing viewpoints, even when we know they’re 1,000% wrong. Of course, we ourselves are never wrong when we voice our own opinions! Sometimes we wish we could have graduated from this life together, hand in hand.
Such people are not perfect any more than we ourselves are. They can be bossy and want things done their way or not at all. They may be narrow-minded and we love them anyway. (This is not the same as dealing with those we must love from a distance to save our own sanity.) They may be a priori thinkers who can’t be reasoned with and we despair of them ever unstopping their ears and opening their eyes to recognize truth. But they are the best of the best and we miss them when they leave this earth before we do.