It seems that ever since July, I have been surrounded with death. Friends, friends of friends, and family all dying. 7 deaths in five months. And now I learn that my Uncle Jon has been given 3-8 months to live.
My Uncle Jon is fairly old, all the other deaths but one were fairly young (not older than 60). Some were cancer, some were horrible accidents, all were cherished and precious lives. It was interesting to see the difference, especially in those whose death was prolonged due to cancer, between those who knew Jesus as their Savior and those who did not.
Those who knew Jesus, and knew that this was not their home, had such a peace about dying. They even had peace about the suffering they were going through (their bodies were in much terrible pain). They loved their earthly family, but longed to "go home."
This last funeral I attended was this past Sunday. Her name is Rebecca and she loved Jesus more than anything. She left behind a husband whom she dearly loved and a 15 year old son, who doesn't quite understand how a loving God could tear his mom away from him. But her husband (and her) believe in a loving God whose eternal plan is much more than we can understand. They know that death is swallowed up in victory! (Your prayers for her husband and especially her son are appreciated.)
Her service was just beautiful. Children sang (she LOVED children). Her husband and others spoke about her influence in their lives. LOTS of tears at the loss of such a wonderful and beautiful woman, and yet, happy tears too, knowing that she was now home - no longer in pain. We sang two of her favorite hymns.
There were some of her unfinished projects there (she knitted). A friend commented how hard it was to see those unfinished projects there, that would never be finished. But after hearing all that she did for others, one realizes that her priorities were straight. Not in the finishing of a knitting project, but in the knitting of hearts of family and friends.
Her death was the first of the 7 that really impacted the children, because they knew her. The others were friends of mommy's or family they had not yet met. But Rebecca was THEIR friend too.
It was a wonderful opportunity to talk to the children (after they shed lots of tears) about the reality of death - that there is a heaven and a hell - both equally real. And sadly, there are people who goto both. We talked about how Mrs. B was now in heaven, no longer in pain, joyful in being with Jesus. How this is not our home, and we are here for only a short while. Life is short and precious.