When Sorrow Meets Hope

We made arrangements for my Dad’s memorial service today. There were hugs, memories, jokes and tears. I told my brother and his family that I am thinking about preparing a video of myself talking straight into the camera to whatever audience might be assembled for my own memorial service, whenever that might be. My first words will be, “Well, this is awkward.” I think he thought I was kidding.

Later on, while making arrangements, my Mom decided she wanted the term “Daddydolls” put on Dad’s grave marker. It was her favorite term for him. I looked at my brother and said, “If I die first and you put anything on my marker which has “dolls” in it, I am going to come back and give you grief. The moment provided just a bit of humor. The funeral chapel employee just shook his head.

My Mom reminded us repeatedly that Dad is in heaven. He is happy and without pain. He is dancing. And she is rejoicing in that hope. There remains much to be done as the week progresses. The pain percolates to varying degrees for different members of the family. Each person has their own way of processing grief. Some are more demonstrative. Others less so, at least in the presence of company.

I spent a couple of hours alone with my Mom before heading back home. It was a pleasant time sharing memories and rejoicing in the hope of Jesus Christ. At one point a niece visited and gave Mom two stuffed puppies. Mom’s expression was radiant as she hugged them. It was as if I could see the little girl she once was. And later, as I walked out onto the porch with Mom at my side, I gently nudged one of the four chime sets which hangs from their porch ceiling. A beautiful set of tones sang out. Mom then nudged one herself. And then she and I nudged all four sets. We smiled. Perhaps it was part of the musical accompaniment for the rejoicing going on in heaven with Dad’s homecoming. The sorrow we feel is being met by hope, producing a potent blend of familial love.

I then said my goodbyes to Mom. She waved from the porch, the chimes still singing. I waved in reply and then drove off. Then I wept. Not as one without hope, but one who feels the loss.

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