Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Shorts

I was sitting in my office at work early this morning when a sweet man came in carrying a plate of deviled eggs. He was looking for a place to drop the eggs for a funeral reception at our church later in the day. I am not a picky eater, but deviled eggs are one of my least favorite foods. I don't like how they look, taste, and certainly not how they smell. I ushered him out as politely and quickly as possible.

My former students will tell you I can be sensitive about smell. Unfortunately, my B.O. meter is as accurate as my B.S. meter, which is to say... finely tuned. And don't even get me stared on tuna fish. I had a "no tuna" rule with the teenagers who would hang out in my classroom at lunchtime because much as I like to eat tuna, I don't want my classroom trash to smell like it all day long.

So, this dear man came in carrying a plate of deviled eggs quite early this morning. Oh, have I told you I was back at work after being home sick in bed all day yesterday? Ugh. Fortunately, the smell dissipated before I needed to take another sick day.

But this little post isn't about eggs; I think it's about funerals.

The funeral was for one of my mother's best friends. She was a lovely woman who died at age 82 after a long struggle with cancer. She was a huge Bible scholar and teacher, as well as a champion of  women's rights and social justice. She made us think, and in many ways served as a moral compass at our church, always listening, nodding, and pointing us back to grace.

I have been to a handful of funerals in our church in the year since Jack's service. All have been for older people, with grown kids and grand kids. As I sat there, I did not have flashbacks to Jack's service because, well, most of it is a blur to me, and the feel of a funeral for an elderly person is so entirely different from that of a child. Jack's and my mother's dying so young makes me think of what they missed out on, and that's hard.

But with this beloved woman, there was a real quality of completion and a life well lived. She will be missed greatly, as evidenced by the tears shed and the stories shared, but there's also an excitement that all those years of digging and studying were leading up to this moment. She is free from her cancer and can go right to the source of her devotion to gain rest, to gain answers, and perhaps to keep teaching!

I'm no expert on how all of this works, but that's how it seems to me today. Someday I will see it all clearly.

Oh, I skipped the deviled egg table and went straight to the desserts.

23 comments:

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

"She is free from her cancer and can go right to the source of her devotion to gain rest, to gain answers, and perhaps to keep teaching!" That's how I think it works, too. A few months before my grandmother died, she gave me the most wonderful gift. We were alone in the kitchen (which was very, very rare since it's a very big family!) and she looked into my eyes and said, "It will not be a tragedy when your grandfather and I die. We have lived long and wonderful lives." Then she paused and said, "Do you understand?" I am so, so grateful for that because it gave me such peace. But, of course, it's different with Jack and with children, it is a tragedy. And yet, Jack, too, has now gained his answers and you demonstrate through this blog that he is definitely still teaching others!

Sybil said...

I was going to comment on the same quote Aimee did. What great insight! I will be attending a funeral tomorrow for a similar, Godly woman. I am looking forward to sharing this insight with others! Thanks!!

Geri said...

The priest gave a beautiful sermon at our son's funeral. He talked about how only God knows what is a full life, and what the measure of a person's life is. And many other lovely things. And when he was done, he turned to the picture of our son, pointed at it and said "but still, this, this I don't understand." And I felt so comforted and validated when he said that.
Praying that someday we will all know and understand.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're feeling better. Please take good care of yourself. I really hate certain food scents, too. I'll be thinking of you and your family this weekend.

"Let her own works praise her in the gates."

LauraBeth said...

Sending some hugs and love, from the other side of town...

mollysmith222 said...

I think Jack lived a wonderful life and was surrounded by people who loved him, guided and encouraged him. He knew God and he never doubted his parents and sisters love. I love how you always told him how proud you were of him. I have a 6 and 7 year old and I read your blog one day, and thought "wow, I don't say that enough" I consider myself a wonderful mom, but the pillow talk, the compliments, well... I lacked that and now I don't. Thank you for sharing your stories. I would rather live 12 years with you as a mom, then 80 years never knowing love, and some just don't. It is sad but someone I know has lived 80 of the worst years, I have ever seen and he is a bitter angry man. It will all make sense one day. I am sorry his life on earth was so short, I am. But I think his life was awesome and it continues to be. Glad you are feeling better. I LOVE deviled eggs, made me want to go make some lol

mollysmith222 said...

I think Jack lived a wonderful life and was surrounded by people who loved him, guided and encouraged him. He knew God and he never doubted his parents and sisters love. I love how you always told him how proud you were of him. I have a 6 and 7 year old and I read your blog one day, and thought "wow, I don't say that enough" I consider myself a wonderful mom, but the pillow talk, the compliments, well... I lacked that and now I don't. Thank you for sharing your stories. I would rather live 12 years with you as a mom, then 80 years never knowing love, and some just don't. It is sad but someone I know has lived 80 of the worst years, I have ever seen and he is a bitter angry man. It will all make sense one day. I am sorry his life on earth was so short, I am. But I think his life was awesome and it continues to be. Glad you are feeling better. I LOVE deviled eggs, made me want to go make some lol

Lisa said...

Love you so much

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Eating desserts first is always the best plan! When someone old passes away it is still very sad but knowing that they lived a long life is a beautiful blessing many don't get to have. Knowing the comfort of Heaven and knowing we will all meet in Heaven is the only way to move forward after loss. You are always in my heart and in my prayers.

Elaine said...

this made me think of my great aunt's funeral some years ago. The phrase that remains with me from that service was when the priest simply said,

"She spoke, every day, to God."

That immediate, yet humble, connection? Working towards that.

Princess Kate said...

Anna, You always seem to touch my heart. While I was reading this I wept thinking of my grandpa AND it was a special moment for me. Thank you for that.

Always thinking of you and praying for peace and comfort.

Miss Stewart and Students said...

My friend Vicki died, a week before her 25th birthday, due to leukemia almost two years ago. This time of year causes me to zero in on all those days before she left us and how I prayed for a Hollywood ending--a miracle--her being cured. What a great witness that would be.

The ending we got though, was Vicki accepting Jesus four hours before her death.

Four hours.

This weekend, I realized that if her life was a movie, that's exactly the kind of ending God would--because He did--write.

Now, speaking of sweets, the last time I saw Vicki was on my 50th birthday. She presented me with a whole lotta the crappy candy we both adored--and I ate it swiftly. So much of it was inhaled I couldn't fit into my jeans for her service (her desired dress for us. So during my sermon, I thanked her, scolded her, and missed her.

Tuna, I won't eat or smell. Deviled eggs, stinking good!

Damnitdaisy said...

I read your every blog entry. I have hurt and grieved with you from afar. Toda, I felt like I saw a friend on the national news. The Huffington Post was doing a piece about mothers that never have their pictures with their children, and a woman blogging about it. The showed your Mother's day picture with Jack and Margaret. I was excited. I was like, there is my "friend," to my husband. Then, I explained your were one of 3 blogs I read faithfully. Just wanted you to know. Have a great weekend. Hoping each day is better than the one before it.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the story and Anna's picture on NBC News! Beautiful!

goironmo said...

See someone beat me to it - but just saw your family pic on NBC News! What a lovely photo - and important commentary on being IN the photo.

Jackie A. said...

I saw your picture on NBC too and like another poster, I was so excited because I saw "a friend" on the news. I know we've never met but, I figure since I think of you and your family all the time, you qualify as a friend. Just another way that your sweet Jack is touching people all over the place!!

PeachPrenni said...

I hate Deviled Eggs too. Hate em! And raisins. I like your outlook on where she's headed. I think it's a celebration for sure!
xo
Annie

Japolina said...

They just mentioned your blog on the today show.(Saturday edition in the 7:00 a.m.! Youre famous!

Katy said...

I saw the same clip on the Today Show. Thanks for sharing with other moms about being in photographs with your kids. They's as valuable to kids as they are to moms, and your story especially exemplifies that point.

Lady Jennie said...

I like lives well-lived and senses of completion. My friend here in France recently lost her grandfather and it completely de-stabilized her. At age 35 she had never lost anyone before (my jaw is on the floor over that one). He died with all his grandchildren surrounding him with their hands on different parts of his body - his shoulders, his feet, his legs ... I can't even contemplate such a thing.

Sometimes it seems like death is the only natural, wonderful, long-awaited for event. Only sometimes ...

NancyS said...

posmotaAnna, I have posted before. I lost my 17 year old son a few weeks before you lost your Jack. You are my touchstone of pain - how horrible to say that but you have been a gift. Your words I cling to so often - they tell me I am not alone and help me to be strong. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your blog posts so much more now that I have heard your "voice" - I watched the videos you posted of an event you spoke at. Your words are truly your voice ... but I also like hearing "your" voice in my head. I just want to say thank you and know that you are not alone - you know that - but in your loss, you are not alone. My Eric was so much like your Jack, Legos and all.

Jill said...

I'm allergic to eggs. Like super bad allergic. I'm living with my parents right now...and they love eggs (from their heads down to their legs). It's all I can do to keep my head from spinning and vomit spewing out when I smell deviled eggs or egg salad.. or even an omelet being made. I think I'm breaking out in hives just typing about it. Oh and Tuna.... ohhh how I loathe tuna. Mom loves that too. Why can't my parents love pizza more than tuna and eggs? I mean, pizza wouldn't be a horrible thing to smell all of the time, right?

But I reckon someday, when my parents time on earth has passed... I'll be longing to smell those putrid smells because I will know they are still there with me (cuz I sure as heck ain't going to be eating that mess!).

When my Nona passed on... it was such a hard thing- we were selfishly wanting our Nona to be with us forever on earth... but she had been in pain for a long time. A devout Christ follower, ready to finally meet Him in all of His glory... how could we possibly think life on earth is worth sticking around for when all of her life she was living for HIM? Our precious Nona never stopped believing, loving, nurturing, or cooking (ha)... her time had come. The ultimate reward... meeting our sweet Jesus.

Jen said...

Interesting that I'm seeing this post today... A dear lady from my church just passed away yesterday after an 11 year battle with cancer, and I've been thinking of her constantly. Though she was far too young (she was only in her 40s, with an 18 year old son) I still have a sense of peace and relief for her; relief that she is no longer tied to this beautiful, yet fragile, body that caused her so much trouble and pain. Peace that she fought long and hard, was able to spend those precious 11 years with her family, and was an example of faith to all those around her.

I like to think that, when we die, we get our own precious time to feel complete, heavenly joy. That the first thing that happens to us when we reach the other side is not sorrow for those we leave behind, or worry, or memories of a sometimes painful earth life, but that we each get a moment - however long that is in eternal timelines - to feel the release of this loud, confusing, beautiful, painful, busy, exciting, rush of a mortal life, and that we just get to feel the joy of coming home to our true, eternal selves. The complete peace of remembering who we truly are.

I hope that's true. I hope it for your friend, for my friend, for Jack, and for all of us. :)