Jul 18, 2013

Long After You’re Gone

A couple sat next to me at the funeral for an older relative who had recently passed away. Their faces were somewhat familiar as though I should know them. We exchanged pleasantries and names; but he seemed cold and distant; looking down at the ground as though he was miles away.

She said to me; “I know you from somewhere…” I too wondered where I knew them from or at least why their names were familiar to me. And so I racked my brain trying to recall the seemingly lost information.

Now, it is not unusual to be at a wedding, funeral, or a family gathering of some sort and not really know everyone or remember their names. It’s also very common to hear a name or see a face and have a feeling as though you should know them so this shouldn’t have really gotten into my head, and yet I found myself distracted by who they were.

I kept glancing at them throughout the funeral as I noted that he seemed to be taking the situation very hard; because all during the service he had tears that occasionally would flow down his cheeks.

At one point during the funeral, an exchange of ‘peace’ was given one to another and I turned to once again extend my hand to this couple, hoping to discover where I knew them.

Instead, when I turned to greet them, I noticed that they embraced; or rather she embraced him as deep waves of grief overcame him. Another person came over and put his arms around the two of them and held them tightly as once again deep waves of grief overcame him. This new person looked at me and said; “I know you from somewhere…”

In time, I came to discover why I knew them; their names had been in the newspapers as part of a story about the death of one of their children due to suicide. It turns out it was his sixteen year old daughter who had died; the woman next to him was her older sister. I prayed for an opportunity to care for them both.

After the service I was able to talk with them and connect the dots. I told them when I saw him crying I had put together what was going on in his heart. I told them that I was so sorry for his loss and the pain that he was going through. I spoke with him for a bit more, hugged him, and went to greet others who were at the funeral.

The sister came up to me a little while later and said, “Thank for taking time to reach out to him today…” and told me what that meant to him. It was one month ago to the day when he had buried his young daughter. The funeral today had brought up deep wells of grief as the pain was once again raw.

I write this to say it was death through suicide that prompted me to write a blog this past May entitled; “Please don’t kill yourself!” And here, today, I saw the crop of what is sown when we give into despair to the point of taking our own lives.

Sure, our pain goes away when we kill ourselves, but it is our friends, loved ones, relatives, neighbors, classmates, etc. that have to try to deal with the loss. I watched as a bumper crop of pain was projected onto this man, this father who was once again trying to make sense of it all.

So once again, I plead with you; Please don’t kill yourself!



“Hope for the Hopeless” by Sheila Walsh

“I’ve seen so many people
Pass before my eyes
Like weary figures in a passion play
And I’ve watched them try to reach and touch the stars above
But all the stars are burning far away
I’ve seen so many stumble when the light goes dim
Crushed beneath the man to love the night
And do we hear their cries above all pounding hearts
All of them disappear from sight

Hope for the hopeless
Hope for them all
Hope for the lonely
Stranger who calls
Rest for the restless
Rest for the lives.. JESUS the hope for us all

And where are we when all the prisoners aim to find
Freedom for their lone defeated souls
And will we build a fire of hope deep in their eyes
Beyond their long forgotten goals
Hope for the hopeless
Hoper for them all
Hope for the lonely
Stranger who calls
Rest for the restless
Rest for the lives.. JESUS the hope for us all

Where would we be without your love
What would we sing without your song
Where would we go without your light to light our way
What would we feel without your heart
What would we see without your eyes
Oh Jesus we depend on you”

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