Last weekend I spent it with my parents at the funeral of my Great Aunt Claudine. She was 94 years old and just wasn’t meant to be on this earth any longer. She lived a great life and had two great marriages and survived both of her husbands. All of her family was there to mourn the loss of her life and celebrate the life she lived on earth.
Death always brings perspective for me. When death occurs it is as if time stands still and you begin to look inward at your life and outward at the people that you live life with.
The night before her funeral I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning listening to my dad and my aunt talk about their parents. Death must make them look around and inward as well. I sat and took in all their words and thoughts. It was as if they were recalling some of the best and worst times of their lives. We mainly talked about their parents, my grandparents. This Thanksgiving will be five years since their daddy passed away.
I listened as tears streamed down my aunt’s face as she described the last minutes of my Papa’s life. She was there with him as he went from this earth into eternity. She will never forget those hours she spent with her dad as he slipped away. At that moment, all the bad is erased and all you see is the loss before your eyes. She recalled his breathing and the way his body lay weak and tired. She said she will never forget the sound of him gasping for breath.
I hurt for my dad as I heard him recall the only time he heard his dad tell him he loved him was the last day of his life as he struggled and clung to life. I could tell that he cherished that conversation even though his daddy was on the verge of death. He finally heard the words he had longed for his whole life.
I laughed as I heard them tell stories of growing up. Things that my grandparents did that were so funny and things that my grandparents did that I hope I don’t repeat the cycle. You see as we sat there I heard the good and the bad. The wonderful memories and the ones that still sting your soul from many years past.
That night I was struck by the thought that one day this will be me. Jordan and I will get together and laugh and cry as we recall our parents. We will talk of the wonderful things we remember about them and the things that still sting to this day when we think about them. We will laugh and cry all in one night as we remember the people that gave us life and steered us in the right direction.
I was then struck by another thought that night that I can’t seem to shake. One day Cayden, Amos, Deacon & Story will sit in a room and they will remember. They will remember the good and unfortunately they will remember the bad. All the wonderful things that Aaron and I did to enrich their lives they will talk about. They will laugh at the memories. They will smile at the thoughts of family times. They will embrace each other and be joyful that we are in heaven with Jesus waiting on them. BUT they will also talk about the ways we screwed up. The bad decisions we made as parents, and the worst for me is that they will remember until the day they die the words that we spoke to them that hurt their soul.
Last weekend I was challenged by death. I was challenged as a child, a friend and most importantly as a parent. I long for my children to talk about me in a positive light when I’m gone. I know there will be negative, b/c I’m not perfect, but my soul longs for them to love their mom and remember her for good things she did. For them to have too many memories to recount in one night. For my boys to tell their children and grandchildren what kinda daddy they had. For my daughter to be a good mommy and grandma because she was given a good example by me.
Death causes me to look inward and outward around me. I long to leave a legacy for my children to recall. I long to be a parent that encourages, showers their children with love, and has mercy and grace for those around them.
Death changes the way I live.