Friday, September 23, 2011


Beth and I sat for a little over an hour last night in the sanctuary of the church we just left about six months ago. It was a small gathering of family and friends attending a memorial service for a woman two years my junior, a lady who, after battling five different types of cancer over the course of nearly two decades, finally slipped away, her race run. The disease had stripped her of outwardly, having ravaged her physically in several ways. Inside, however, she remained the same. It could not take her smile. It could not destroy her anchor in Christ. Her husband, true to his marriage vows, had stood devoted to her every step of the way, but was suddenly handed a terminal diagnosis himself and preceded her in death just last November. She, like him, opted for cremation; and last night we celebrated their life together, a love that survived beyond the ills that came their way. We sang hymns; we shared memories; and, at one point, a young man, her nephew, accompanied himself on the guitar, giving us a tune he once played for her back when he was just a boy first learning to strum the strings. “If You Get There Before I do” is an old song expressing how sometimes the bonding of two hearts is unable to be severed no matter what. The lyrics left not one dry eyes in the place… The tradition of layouts and funerals just never made much sense to me. To each their own, to be sure, but better, I think, this sort of “goodbye”, this witness of their legacy left behind; and this, my choice, when such time comes to me……

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