I am reposting this because, as I write this, tomorrow I am going to speak at the funeral service of a friend. She was a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt that always had a smile and a hug for me. Rest in peace dear girl.
The morning after my dad went to heaven I went to the kitchen to make the coffee and oatmeal and thought of all the fun I used to have guessing whether it was going to be a “raisin in or raisin out” morning and watching him dip his Biscotti into his cup of coffee and remembered the pleased expression as he would taste the sweet treat.
That made me think of other “morning afters”; people plan great big fat extravagant weddings, spend way too much money and wear their nerves thin, then the day comes and everyone admires the Bride, congratulates the groom and the couple leaves amidst cheers and congratulations, then they wake to the next morning when the real life begins. It’s kind of like the day after Christmas when wrapping paper and general chaos still litters the floor, the fridge is loaded with leftovers, the excitement is over and it’s time for the clean up, however, you still have the excitement of the New Year’s Eve party coming up! December 31 arrives, midnight passes, and you are left with tons of confetti and party goods to fill the 30-gallon trash bags knowing that January 2nd begins a new year of the same old routine as the year before.
The list could go on and on with Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, the birth of babies so anticipated, then waking up to a crying child with diaper rash and colic! I think I have painted a dismal picture here!
There was a day a couple woke up in paradise and before nightfall were escorted out into a world where they would have to labor for everything they had instead of having the privilege of plucking their meals from a tree. After living in the lush Garden I can imagine them looking at the dust around them and wondering where their next meal would come from with some great distress. But then there was a day that had ended with a body being washed and wrapped in grave-clothes and left alone in a tomb with a great stone rolled in front of the only opening. Three days after, when all hope was lost, there was a miracle as Jesus came forth from that grave and not only went to sit at the right hand of the Father in Heaven but made sure that we were sent another comforter, the Holy Spirit, no sadness now, no loss, only a happy time of celebration.
Now let’s look at the day after for our loved ones that leave us, their “day of life” ends in an old, tired, worn out body that may be racked in the pain of a terrible disease and “next day” wake up with the angels of heaven escorting them to the very Throne of God and they wouldn’t come back even if they could!
I remember that my grandmother had a “death” experience and my grandfather was desperately praying for her to revive. The doctor had pronounced her dead but suddenly her eyes fluttered and she opened them and looked at my grandfather and she asked him, “Why did you pray for me to come back? It was so beautiful there I didn’t want to come back here.” Later on she described to us how beautiful the flowers were! I think that their “day after” if the best kind ever!
Not long before my mother died I quoted some words of a poem to her and then started singing the chorus of “In the Garden”, even with so many holes in her memory she sang all the words to it. My dad often quoted this poem at funerals:
Should You Go First
Should you go first and I remain to walk the road alone,
I’ll live in memories garden dear, with happy days we’ve known.
In spring I’ll wait for roses red, when faded, the lilacs blue.
In early fall when brown leaves fall, I’ll catch a glimpse of you.
Should you go first and I remain, for battle to be fought.
Each thing you’ve touched along the way will be a hallowed spot.
I’ll hear your voice, I’ll see your smile, though blindly I may grope,
The memory of your helping hand will buoy me on with hope.
Should you go first and I remain, one thing I’ll have you do:
Walk slowly down that long long path, for soon I’ll follow you.
I want to know each step you take, so I may take the same.
For someday down that lonely road you’ll hear me call your name.
~by Albert Kennedy “Rosey” Rowsell~