With my Grandma, who passed at 96 years old last year, I knew most everything she did socially revolved around funerals. Either some friend of hers was sick and getting ready to die or she was wanting me to sign a get well/sympathy card to send, or was planning to attend a funeral pretty much the last 20 years of her life! Not my cup of tea! But I'm getting used to it.
The last 3 weeks, I've attended my Great Aunt Goldie's (age 101!) and my second cousin Earle McMillan's (age 80) funeral. You know what? Both were joyous occasions that I really actually enjoyed. Family members coming together, reminiscing over sweet memories, watching slide shows of days gone by, eating together. I know if it were a tragic death it would feel differently. If I were the one attending to all the details I would feel differently. But I'm thankful today for the opportunity to celebrate Christian lives like this.
Let me tell you just a little about these "Christian characters" in my family:
Goldie was my Grandma's sister, and the total opposite of her! But they got along well and the last 10 years or so were able to go to church together many times, with the help of a relative. You can imagine two little 90 + old ladies chatting together on the pew. Everyone said they were so cute! I took both of them out to eat at a barbecue restaurant once, an old lady on each arm. Everyone treated us like royalty! But Goldie was an awesome prairie farm woman who lived in the same home for 60 years. She was blind but still living in her home (with the help of her daughters who lived nearby) when she passed. She had dogs and cats and such a positive spirit. I think she was a lot like Paul when he wrote in Phillipians 4: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
Earle was my Dad's cousin and had an interesting life story. After just getting married, his parents both died within a week of each other, of different causes. He had no siblings, so my Grandma became his mother in a way. My Dad was 5 years younger but they were close and both became professors at Christian colleges. Earle had an interest in Scotland (home of the McMillans) so he ended up getting his PhD there in New Testament. He also loved antiques. So in his life, he taught 10 years at Abilene Christian University, had an antique business, traveled to Europe frequently at a time when that kind of travel was rare, had a lovely wife and 3 sons, and also had a construction business, which still exists today! He really lived, didn't he? What I thought was interesting was at the funeral several people, including his friend Royce Money, president of ACU said that sometimes he was accused of thinking differently. He was a teacher his whole life in different ways and taught his students and family to "think out of the box." All 3 sons now own their own businesses. He truly loved his 3 sons and their families since he was without siblings and parents for a long time.
Thanks for letting me reflect and mourn
and consider the stages of life today.