I arrived at the church early as I was sure there would be a crowd. There was. Once seated in the charming country church, I quietly observed the simple wooden cross in the sanctuary that spoke volumes as the sun streamed brightly upon it. I heard a guitar being strummed almost fleetingly. People were pouring in with some thirty minutes until the service was to begin. I watched their faces. I saw the grief. The single difference in this gathering was the median age seemed to be 35-45. A beautiful looking crowd with the men dressed in suits - the women stunning. But on each face a terrible look of sadness.
Sitting there I began to think about the numerous times I have sat in a lovely church just as this, hoping that in some way my presence was a comfort. Somehow I know it is as I, myself, have been so comforted by the outpouring of kind thoughts, words and deeds more times than I wish. My mind then wandered to all the services of which I have been a part. One after another they crossed my mind.
We know we must bury the generation from which we were born and the one from which they came. We know we must bury our generation and I have. Many times. But when we bury the young, when I see the pain, the disbelief, the shock, the changing of a family in a minute, the optimism with which I choose to live my life falters. Unfortunately, I have watched several dear friends deal with the loss of a child.
The circumstances surrounding each were different, but that did not matter. No, it did not matter one single bit as I watched the families attempt to resume their lives. Eventually, all managed to “get through” the difficult time, but the wound has never completely healed.
My reason for being at church today was the funeral of twins, a young woman and a young man who celebrated their 40th birthday on September 22, 2011. Last week, they were traveling to New York City when a freak accident occurred. Now they are gone from this earth. Amazing that they came into the world together and they left it together.
In that crowded church for almost two hours we heard stories about them. About their lives, where they worked, their sense of humor, unforgettable smiles and lots of sweet memories. And that is what is left. Lots of sweet memories.
I marvel at the strength of the people who spoke. There were three young children who sang a beautiful song. The young widow stood and spoke of the man she loved. The minister, a pretty young woman, fully admitted she did not understand the tragedy but urged us to try to accept it. And accept it we must. Their mother, with unbelievable determination, she spoke about her three children beginning her message by saying, 41 and 40 years ago, I gave birth to three outstanding human beings, She talked about how busy those first years were and how proud she has been as she watched them grow. With a broken heart, she managed to thank everyone for being there. I am sure there were over two hundred people who wanted to reach out hoping to ease her pain.
After the service, I had the opportunity to hug my friends. Through our tears we agreed we would talk sometime soon. I hope that is true as now the unbelievable hard part begins. Picking up the pieces.
I came away with the wind gone from my sails, wishing so much I could say or do something to help such dear people who are suffering so.
Driving home on the golden Fall day, I suddenly remembered a sunny Spring day years ago. Three days before he died, I managed to get my husband Glenn, forty-nine years old, to the living room where he could see the bay from the window. I watched him as he quietly sat there, finally saying….”You know if there was anything I could do, I would do it.”
As I write this I see his face filled with love and sadness for us. “There is nothing you can do, you have done it all. All you can do is to accept with faith whatever happens.”
That is much easier said than is done.
A few weeks later a priest who lived next to my Cottage by the Sea called to me over the picket fence. He talked about death and dying. He told me knew about my husband’s faith, handing me a prayer card and gave me assurance of Glenn’s eternal life.
I memorized the beginning of the prayer - I have said it almost every day since.
“Give me you help, Lord - to live this one day. No one can tell if it will bring sorrow or laughter.”
My prayer for the entire McKernan (Hall) family is just that - “Give them your help, Lord, to live this one day.”
In loving Memory of Lynn and Bill McKernan - 9/22/1971 - 10/6/2011
repost of article, written 10/13/2011
© 2011 Musings by Marilyn - 7/26/12