Today I attended the funeral for my friend and coworker, Nancy. Since I heard about her passing there was never a question in my mind whether I would attend or not. You may be thinking that of course I would not question that, but for me, this was a very serious decision.
I have not been to a funeral in 10 years. The last one was for my grandma. I would not have even gone to that one if it were not for wanting to support my mom.
I do not do very well with funerals. I grew up going to funerals and was fine. It was a way of life. We had a lot of older people in the family and they died. That was they way it was. My dad died when I was fifteen and I even handled that very well(except when I kind of broke down at the cemetery).
However, when I was 20, my close friend, Tara, died. Without hesitation I made plans to travel with friends to her hometown of Albuquerque to attend the funeral. Her funeral was unlike any I had been to before. It was the first one I had been to for a young person and that might have made the difference. Or it might have just been the people in attendance. This was the first funeral I ever went to where people were weeping openly and loudly. Just a very raw showing of emotions. It affected me deeply. I swore I would never attend a funeral for a young person again. Eventually it also got harder to attend funerals of older people as well, probably because it brought of memories and emotions from that funeral. I swore off funerals(except my grandmother's).
At the time, I did not know why I felt it was so important to go to Nancy's funeral. I just knew I had to be there. I had to be with her family and friends. I felt that was the only way I could say goodbye. I thought maybe time had healed the the anxieties I felt about attending funerals. I did start feeling a little anxious today, especially when it was time to go, but I did not let that stop me.
I got my answer while there as to why I needed to be there. First of all, the church is beautiful. I felt at peace immediately upon entering. We sat in the balcony so I was able to really look at almost everything. My favorite was the mural behind the altar of Jesus with lambs. I took a lot of comfort in seeing that. The pastor who was officiating, Rev Glasgow(husband of the speech pathology teacher at our school), gave a wonderful sermon and eulogy to Nancy. He knew her well. His words touched my heart. He talked about how she was no longer in pain or anything and how the savior welcomed her with open arms. Things I knew in my heart, but needed to hear said. He talked about how we can give service to others as she did. It was just a really wonderful service. He used a bit of humor as well, which I love.
I came away feeling that I received the answers and help I had been asking God for in understanding Nancy's death. It did not matter anymore why He had taken her back to heaven with Him at this time, what mattered was that she was with him and at peace and that gave me a lot of peace and comfort. I felt that we would carry on the service she gave and those she took care of would continue to receive care and love.
That was why I felt the overwhelming need to be at her funeral. So I could find the peace and comfort I needed. I hope others were able to as well.