In Texas, where I’m from, a funeral service is conducted for the family
of someone who dies. Here in New York, most funerals are preceded by one or
two wakes, especially when the deceased was Catholic. I guess New York Protestants
hold their own version of a wake, though they call it a viewing. I attended
a viewing today. I did not know the family very well, but they (a father, a
mother, and five children—the oldest of which is 12) were members of our church
until recently, when they moved to another part of the
The father of the family was in his last day of training to become a fire fighter
when he collapsed and never recovered.
Even though I barely knew them, I hoped that as a deacon in the church I might
provide some comfort to the family. I went with our associate pastor and his
wife (our pastor would arrive later to speak at the funeral). I’m
not sure how much comfort we gave them, but I’m certain that we at
least didn’t upset them. The wife clung to us for
some time both when we arrived and when we left—she was grieved
almost beyond her ability to bear it. She told me: "I know he’s
with Jesus now and that I’ll see him again some day, but I’m just going to
miss him so much."
I can’t imagine the pain. I don’t want to. Every time I begin to put myself
in her shoes I’m overwhelmed. I thank God for the time I’ve had with my wife.
I hope I can still thank him if he ever decides to call her home before me.