Faith, Family, Friends...

We went to the home-going celebration for Mary yesterday.  It was spectacular! I was concerned and very apprehensive about going. I did not attend a wake or funeral until I was in my thirties when my dear Grammie got to go home.  It was traumatic and stressful.  Since then Hubby has insured that I have been to many.  I still have a very hard time with it. 

Mary's son, truly honored the essence of Mary.  There was no casket, no body (thank you Aunt Judy for saying those words to me at Grammie's funeral - that isn't her, she isn't there, that is simply the body... it helped greatly!).  There was a display of things that meant a great deal to her, things that she had saved because of the value to her, a dress from when she taught that had figures drawn on it, a scrap book of school pictures given to her by her students with the school, year and their names written carefully by each of them.  A collection of pens from her father, memorabilia from her son's wedding.  And a looping video show of all the pictures of Mary. 

Beautiful flowers everywhere and so many people that loved Mary all talking together and sharing stories of how she touched their lives.  It was powerful.

The memorial was just as beautifully done.  It was a true celebration of her life, and how she had lived it.  Mary touched so many people, and she made each one feel as though they were the most important person in the world to her. 

The pastor used several phrases to describe her.  They were powerful!  One was the title of this blog entry.  Faith, Family, and Friends because if you had those three things you were the most blessed of people.  Mary had been a shining example of that.  I reflected on that as I sat in the chapel and listened.  He's was right.  You do not need all the money in the world, you don't need to be powerful, all you truly need is your faith, family and friends and you have everything anyone needs.

The other was a Bible verse, 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have kept the faith.  Looking at the beautiful smile on her face in the picture of her and her son at the front of the room, I am sure she would have approved.  I like that verse, I think it needs to be something that I will focus on. 

What a home-going it was.  There were a few tears, as she will be greatly missed.  But mostly there were smiles of happiness for her promotion in life. There was no doubt that she was laughing and smiling down on all of those gathered, the sweet message being "I'm okay, I finished my race, now finish yours." She was a teacher to the end...

Her family and friends will need some time to adjust to the hole that is left, but all will heal.  I hope that in the grief they heard the words the pastor shared, I wouldn't be surprised if she had picked them herself.  They are good words for all of us.

A reminder of what matters in life.

Fight the Good Fight
Finish the Race
Keep the Faith

and always keep the three most important things front and center...

Faith
Family
Friends

the rest is simply the stuff that gathers around a well lived life...

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