Friday, April 23, 2010

Flashback Friday #7 – Grief

I’ve been enjoying Flashback Friday – it’s fun to think back and resurrect some memories from childhood.  If you’d like to learn more about Flashback Friday, participate in this meme, or read others’ responses, simply click on the above button.

Here is this week’s topic ---

How old were you (approximately) when you attended your first funeral? Did your parents shield you from death and grief or was it viewed as a natural part of life? Did you experience any significant loss(es) in your growing up years? What were your early impressions of death and dying? And while I do not intend this in any irreverent way, are there any amusing memories associated with a death or funeral? If you have kids, how have you handled this subject with them? Feel free to share as vulnerably or as shallowly as you want!

My answer ---

The first funeral that I really remember attending was for my great-grandmother.  I was 10. I don’t remember anything about the actual services, but I do remember having dreams about her afterwards.  I had the same dream repeatedly – I would see her walking along a certain highway (actually not far from where we live now).  It was weird.

I remember attending a few other funeral services when I was younger, but the first one for someone really close to me was my Nanny’s, when I was 15.  Since that time, I’ve lost all 4 of my grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, and 2 cousins, among others.

Last month, I lost my best friend Sue.  To date, I’d say it was probably the hardest funeral to get through.  Maybe because she was so close to me, or because she died so young (she didn’t even make it to her 37th birthday), or because I was so sad for her girls.  In our many years of friendship, Sue had taught me a lot about death, though – her mother had died when Sue was only 17.  Because of that, she felt that it was very important not to shelter children from death and funeral services, etc. 

When Ashley was pretty little, our dear sweet neighbor lady passed away.  Ashley was very close to her.  We took her to the services, and she did fine.  Since that time, she’s been to many more.  When someone dies, we don’t even think “should we take the kids?” – we just do.  Dying is a part of this life, and one that we shouldn’t  try to hide from our children.  Rather, it can be a great time of conversation and teaching.

Linda, from Mocha with Linda, shared something that has been fresh on my mind since Sue’s services, so I hope you’ll pop over and read her answer to this week’s topic question.  I’ll just reiterate ---

Sue’s service, though it was very emotional, was also very uplifting.  When we left there, Brian commented that another recent funeral service that he attended – conducted by the same pastor – was not nearly that uplifting. After chatting a bit, we realized that it was the difference between a funeral for a believer and a funeral for an unbeliever. When there is not assurance of eternity in heaven, that’s depressing and must be difficult for pastors to officiate.

What about you?  What’s your experience with funerals, death, etc.?  Feel free to share in the comments section!


skoots1mom said...

I never knew my great-grandmother.
lost my best friend Sue...these are sometimes the toughest.
pastors officiating situations where the heart is not so easily known are definitely a hard thing to do, i believe. The emptiness is hard to watch.
thanks for sharing

Mocha with Linda said...

Thanks for sharing. It's hard to lose someone close to us but hope in Christ makes all the difference!

bp said...

I enjoyed your post, it is nice to "meet" you through this meme. It is a difficult topic today but I've enjoyed reading how we all deal with grief. That is a good point, I seem to "enjoy" the funerals much more for those I know are spending eternity in Heaven.

Have a nice weekend.

Barbara H. said...

Thanks for sharing these memories. Though death is always hard, I think losing someone our own age gives us a special pang.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend. I know for me I can not even comprehend loosing one of my gal pals.


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