Go Make it Happen
“Everyone who knew her, loved her.” The first thing out of their mouths.
“She never said a negative word about anyone.” The second thing out of their mouths.
I was meeting with two daughters who had just unexpectedly lost their mom. I never had the opportunity to meet the one who had birthed them forty plus years earlier, but was tasked with the honor of giving her eulogy.
We were meeting so I could adequately give a picture of their mom they so deeply loved.
After we exchanged a couple of awkward pleasantries and offered a prayer for help, I said, “Tell me what you remember about your mom.”
Without hesitation. Without a long pause. Without looking at each other so as to say, “should we tell him the truth about mom, or try to sugar coat it?” They couldn’t wait to tell me of how deeply loved she was and how quick she was to speak kindness.
I’d done this before. I know when someone is forcing a comment. These ladies weren’t. They were simply telling me the way things were for their mom.
As a matter of fact, the only “negative” they said about their mom (which, in my opinion wasn’t even a negative, but a funny) was taken back. I received a text message later asking to discard that particular comment. “Good grief,” I thought to myself. “That’s the only thing I could say that would indicate this woman was human!”
I removed the “not-so-negative-negative-comment” from my notes.
As with every funeral I am asked to officiate, I wonder. . . .
“What would my children say to a preacher they’d never met to help him describe me adequately when I am laid to rest?”
“What would be the first thing out of Katie’s mouth when asked about her memories of me?”
I feel like I need to go lay down in sackcloth and ashes and curse myself for a couple of weeks.
No. That isn’t sufficient. I need to lay down on one side in sackcloth and ashes – without food – for a month . . . then turn over on the other side and do the same.
As you can see, if I’m not careful, I can find myself going down a black hole faster than these ladies complimented their mom. At the end of the day, I have to ask myself “what do I want them to say?”
My hope? That they would look at each other, have tears well up, and say, “oh my goodness how my daddy/husband loved us!”
I don’t want them to say, “he said he loved us.” Rather, “that he loved us.” There’s a difference. Anyone can say it (and should!). But genuine love is demonstrated. Shown. Evidenced. Lived.
What about you? What would you want those closest to you to say to a preacher you’ve never met to describe you? What do you hope is the first thing out of their mouths?
Don’t go buy any sackcloth and ashes. Go make it happen.
And for the sake of the preacher and a “non-boring” funeral for everyone, let him keep the funny stuff. Deal?