“Sleep well my sister, we’ll see you again in the morning.” The words woke me from my mind wondering and reflecting. I was at work today doing one of the things I get to do as a bereavement coordinator. I was attending the funeral of a former patient who had died at the young age of 95. She was a spirit-filled church goer, according to those who spoke. She loved music, which the choir provided with lots of energy. She had a strong family which attended in a large number. It was a beautiful sight. Everything seemed to be in order. I guess that’s why I felt free to reflect.
Sitting in the back pew of the church, wearing my name badge and providing support through my presence, I got lost in my thoughts about this past week-end. It started on Thursday morning when I learned a man who attended my church had died. He wasn’t 95. He was 52. It wasn’t expected and there weren’t family members gathered at the bedside. He laid back on his bed and died.
I spent Thursday making sure the family was supported, the funeral plans were taken care of and my funeral message was prepared. Friday I had the chance to go to a family reunion with about 24 family members. We laughed until we cried, we sang songs and played instruments. We also ate more then we should. We had a great time. I traveled back and had the service on Sunday. The service was completed and everything went the way it was supposed to go.
Today, my mind focused on my friend. He. too, was a wonderful person. He didn’t attend church every Sunday. He did enjoy music, especially blue grass music. He enjoyed watching other deer hunters hunt and he enjoyed hearing the dogs bark. He drove different people different places in his truck. He was a friend to many as was shown by the gathering at his funeral on Sunday. It was a pleasure to officiate at his service. It was sad that he left us at such a young age. I wish I had more answers to that question but I don’t.
I guess it was all of this that allowed my mind to begin to wonder today. I was able to reflect. I didn’t have part in today’s service except to provide support through my presence. I used the time to think back to my friend as the pastor talked about his friend who was 95. As he was proclaiming what he appreciated about his friend, I was able to reflect on what I appreciated about my friend. I caught myself smiling. Nothing was funny, but my reflections allowed me to smile.
I was glad the preacher’s words brought me back to the service in time to hear what he said. I needed to hear the service end with those words. It was a beautiful ending. As the family was led out by the pastor, he reached and shook my hand. I am sure he did this at every funeral, but I felt as though I was shaking hands with a fellow pastor. As I shook his hand, he smiled at me and I smiled at him. He did not know me and I did not know him. There was one thing I did know. After the service was over, when he got back to his home, he was going to take the time to reflect on his friend, just as I had done today. I looked at him and smiled as if to say “thank you.” He smiled back as if to say “you’re welcome.” I thought back one more time to this week-end and I ended my thoughts the way he ended the service. “Sleep well my friend, I’ll see you in the morning.” Amen