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Friday, April 2, 2010

Funerals and Faith

Yesterday, my husband and I went to a funeral. A childhood buddy of his had died, sitting at his computer, mouse in hand. He looked, his son told us, like he had simply fallen asleep sitting there. We sat with one of my husband’s cousins and his wife. We love being with these people. They are easy people, kind and interested in everything we do or say or think. They always have interesting things to say in return. We went to lunch afterward, lingering two hours to talk over everything since last time we were together, last summer.

Funerals always make me grateful for my husband. This friend of his seems to have accomplished remarkable things in his life, even allowing for the usual hyperbole heard at funerals. My husband always compares himself unfavorably to people who seem to have accomplished a lot. In my opinion, unbiased of course, he has nothing to fear. His greatest accomplishment is a happy family life. Naturally, I get to claim some of the credit, but not as much as he gets.

I’ve come across too many couples that I think are just enduring each other, hoping for better times to come, or using some other strategy to get themselves to settle for what they have rather than what they had hoped. I, on the other hand, am surprised at how much better my life is than I thought it would be when I married. I thought I was being realistic and avoiding wearing the rose-colored glasses of many engaged couples. However, I find instead I was overly pessimistic, which has worked in my favor since I have been waaay better off than I could have dreamed. The reason I suppose that funerals make me think of these things is that my husband is almost a generation older than I am, so I am likely to be alone a long time between our passings, if we live average life spans. I’m happy to be still in the time of being together here.

I believe in an afterlife, and I believe in eternal marriage. This gives me the comfort of not having to fear a time when I “lose” my husband forever. I saw the widow at this funeral buoyed up by this same hope and faith. She was strong and sad at the same time, with an assurance that the sadness would fade and that hope and faith would continue. This was the second marriage for both my husband’s friend and his wife. They had endured miserable marriages before, and then they had the great good fortune to find each other after their others ended. It sounds from the funeral talks as if they had a wonderful time together. I am my husband’s second wife, the first marriage having been a disaster, and I end up being compared favorably. I am determined that I shall not be a disaster!

My mom lives with us, and since she has been widowed just under two years, I am watching the grieving process she has gone through and continues to feel. We used to say about her and my dad that they lived in each other’s back pockets, they were so close. They absolutely loved being together, doing everything together. Now she is very lonely, even with us around. She has the same faith I do, but it doesn’t erase grief. I miss my dad, but nothing compared to how my mother feels. Still, she enjoys things. Grief hasn’t changed her fundamentally; she’s always been a strong person and still is.

I know that I am very, very fortunate. I know that life has not been fair to some of my friends and family, and that one of the unfairnesses is that I should have this great reward for nothing I ever did to deserve it. However, together with my faith in having my husband in the eternities, I have faith that God makes everything fair in the end. He knows better than we do what unfairness might be necessary here on earth for our ultimate good, and being perfect, He’ll make everything come out right in the end. My simple logic says that if He didn’t, He wouldn’t be God.

When the time comes that my husband and I are parted for a time, I’ll have to reread this and remember it. Someone should read it to me after the funeral.

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