"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Friday, December 01, 2006

On the Funeral and Committal Services

First of all, I want to thank you all for the prayers, condolences & good wishes left for me in the comments section of my last post. While the last few days have been rough, the support from you, my blogger friends, has been wonderful. I've really appreciated it.

As happens whenever I have to attend a funeral (which isn't very often, thankfully) I'm always amazed at how the morticians make the body of the deceased look as good as can be, even when you're like my grandfather, reduced to basically skin and bones and nothing else.

But what's missing when you go to a funeral? It's a reason for family to get together and friends to join in to mourn the passing of a loved one - to offer their support and love.

But there's still something missing. My grandfather's flesh and bones were lying in that casket but what made him who he was was not. You'll never convince me that humans have no soul or spirit. That, my friends is what is missing. In the case of my grandfather, the vibrancy and love of life, the compassion, the love and support he gave to everyone who crossed his path - and a whole lot more- was gone.

Where did it go? Did that part of him die just as his body did?

If you're a Christian, you know - not believe - KNOW that at the moment immediately after death, that the soul and spirit are in heaven, just as Jesus promised they would be.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." -John 14:1-3 NIV

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples on the day of his crucifixion. (Remember that the Jewish day goes from sunset to sunset, not from midnight to midnight as we reckon it.) Those verses rank among my favorite in the whole Bible because they fill me with such hope and comfort and are the foundation of my faith. Jesus, through His death and resurrection, proved who He claimed to be, and being God in human form, cannot lie.

At the family viewing, I asked the Corps Officer (pastor), of the Corps (church) that my grandfather attended in retirement how my grandfather died. He was visiting my grandfather at the nursing home and was there with him when he breathed his last. He assured me that it was a peaceful passing, having died lying on his bed in his room. The Corps Officer told me that he was honored to be there at my grandfather's side. I wondered after, and probably always will, what that feeling is like- being with someone one minute when they are alive and the next minute being there with just a dead body.

My grandfather's funeral service was beautiful. To hear his sons talk about their father was heartwarming. To hear the testimony of some of the friends and colleagues whose lives my grandfather touched, influenced and impacted was incredible. If I can be half of the man, half of the servant of God that my grandfather was, then I'll be doing well. Such a high standard has been set!

After a lengthy funeral procession, up the Garden State Parkway and into New York we drove, in the rain. The skies opened during the short committal service, and we all quickly became cold, damp and wet, even though the cemetery workers erected a small tent for our use. My grandfather's body was laid to rest amidst the rain and tears, along with my grandmother's remains, awaiting that day written about in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, when body and soul are reunited imperishable.

After we had a wonderful family dinner at a nearby restaurant, each of us set out for our homes. For me, the long ride home was tiring and uneventful and I slept through a good part of it, since I was not driving. Though I still had a half hour drive ahead of me, from my parent's house to my apartment.

5 Comments:

At 02 December, 2006 00:54, Blogger Kayla said...

I sensed a peacefulness in your writing, Green.
It is such a comfort after the physical death experience to know a fellow Christian has passed into the next life.
I was with my Dad as he passed away in the ICU. He was heavily sedated, and had a quiet death.
I was the only one of my family to stay until the end, and while it was painful, it was also joyful.
I look forward to seeing God and my Dad one day.
What a gift Christ has given!
My prayers continue for you.

 
At 02 December, 2006 11:28, Blogger green said...

Thanks, Kayla.

Really the sting of the loss of my grandfather's is only tempered by my, and his, faith in what happens after death. And since it was simply his time to go, I have no problem with it.

Yes, what a reunion that will be, one day in heaven, for you and I and all of our Christian friends and relatives!!!

 
At 04 December, 2006 04:50, Blogger DaBich said...

Oh! I missed this. I am so sorry for your loss, Green! God bless you and all your family, and may your grandfather rest in peace.

 
At 07 December, 2006 20:00, Blogger Sarafina said...

I too missed this. Big hugs to you. xoS

 
At 08 December, 2006 13:12, Blogger An American in Melbourne said...

"I wondered after, and probably always will, what that feeling is like- being with someone one minute when they are alive and the next minute being there with just a dead body."

I was with my mum when she died. It was hard because we (my dad, sister and I) had to make the decision to turn off the machines that were keeping her body going. We sat there with her, and after a couple of minutes, the nurse just told us "her heart's stopped".

I still cry when i think about it.

 

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