Went to a funeral in Longview, Washington Saturday. A friend's stepfather had died and I wanted to be there to support her. She did the supporting... from the moment I came in the church she was introducing me to members of her family. Her mother came up to me... I wanted to shake her hand... she gave me a very warm hug and thanked me for coming.
Usually I am up front by the altar at weddings and funerals and other worship services. I was glad I was out in the pew with the congregation.
... love, love... love... an older man kept quietly checking in with his wife to make sure she was ok; a woman in her forties kept wiping away her tears.. a man and two women were sitting three pews in front of me and the woman in the middle was crying, her female friend frequently gently rubbed her back; often she leaned her head on the man's shoulder... lots of tears and lots of support...
I had come with three friends and so I tried to stay close to them, not wanting to do anything but be there in a supportive role... but once again I was being introduced to various members of the deceased's family... I found them so warm and welcoming. I was amazed that they took the time to talk to me.
The eulogies by four members of the family, one brother, two sisters, one teenage granddaughter re-enforced what I was coming to recognize. The family members said they were very lucky to have had their step father come into their lives... he spent time with them; he was always there for the big moments in their lives.
One thing I have learned in my work at the hospital... patients who have had the strength and desire to love their families and friends have made a great different in their beloveds' lives.
Here is the poem that appeared on the deceased's memorial card:
I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an after glow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing
times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who
grieve, to dry before the sun
of happy memories that I leave
when life is done.