When I started the class on Grief and Bereavement, I wondered whose funeral I would officiate or who would die before May 8 when class ends.
Last week I assisted for a funeral at my church for a woman I did not know who had been a member. She was not living in town because her children found a nursing home for her that was more convenient for them to visit. It happens that I had been to that nursing home many times while serving a different church. It really is a terrific facility with a truly caring staff. The daughter told me she was surprised that there were a couple of nurses who cried when her mother died. She was touched by the depth of care.
The daughters requested that a retired minister be included in the service. That was a deep relief to me. He really did know the woman and celebrated her life. Some of my church members were amused to hear that my name had changed though. The retired minister has confused me with another minister several times — not a surprise to me — but a surprise to some attending the funeral. I let them in on the whole story during the family meal while we were in the kitchen. And I told the story again during Bible Study with a different group who also commented on the name change.
And before I had finished with that service, I was asked to go to a hospice house where the neighbor of a church member had been moved. The neighbor had been fighting cancer for some time. This was the second round and they found spots in her ribs and other bones. Then there were spots in her brain. She and her husband came to worship a couple of times because my church members invited them. But the couple were not all that interested in church or religion, etc. That is, until death was imminent. There were a few times when the husband just talked about a lot of things. He so clearly felt alone and did not want to be so alone. Tomorrow I meet with him and the family and friends he has gathered to figure out how to have “something” for his wife who died Sunday morning. They originally agreed that she would be cremated and there would be no funeral or memorial. As her death drew closer, her husband, sister, and best friend decided that it was just not right to do nothing. So we’ll figure out what “something” looks like tomorrow.
So now the wondering has shifted to wondering if there will be more.