Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Finding strength in the face of death

Finding strength in the face of death

By Ken LaRive

Funerals are inspiring to me. Nothing brings home the true meaning of life more. When someone stands up in eulogy, there is a charge of electricity in the air. Those moments of silence while attempting composure, the shaking hands, the tears from already swollen eyes, brings on an empathy from deep inside, but it is much more than that...

It is more than the loss, or even the realization of how much just one moment of life is worth. It is more then the indomitable changes that are hard to understand, or justify, or resolve. It isn’t the questions that hang above us all as we sit there looking at the shell that held such a precious soul.

“Why?” ...we ask in a whispered sigh. Lingering hugs, a held hand, eye contact, and well though out words seem to always fall short... So overwhelmingly powerful is the loss of a loved one that nothing anyone can say or do has much effect at the time.

But a funeral seems mostly a focal point, a pivot between shock and the grieving process. It is to a degree an attempt to say goodbye, but a funeral has no conclusion. For those who greave, it is just a glimmer of what lay ahead. The true gravity of the loss hits home later. It is subtle and personal, a blend of past memory, the pain of loss, an uncertain future, and reconciliation where even the foundations of faith are questioned.

What pains there must be to find their fingerprints on the refrigerator, or the scent of them on a pillow? What could grip a heart more but to hear their voice on an answering machine, or a glimpse of their picture on the mantle? But then, what bitter strength it must take to actually wipe away those fingerprints? How can one delete a voice, or give away clothes?

It seems that those who find the most solace, who are able to smile even in the face of death, are those who find two things, and they well up from great loss and overpowering tragedy alike... Having little regret for a life well lived calms the spirit..., but true strength comes to those who simply place it all in the hands of God. No matter how broken is a heart, it will mend quickly when God resides there. Faith is stronger than anything, even death.

Funerals bring people together to remind us how fleeting life is, and those who shared the experience your best connection to it.

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