I've been to two very different funerals recently. Last month it was for a 21 year old, beautiful college girl who made some bad decisions and paid the ultimate price. Her memorial service was quite long, with various speakers giving their thoughts and remembrances. The officiant was not a cleric, I don't think. There was no mention of Heaven or an afterlife of any kind. There was no prayer. Before the service the song, Spirit in the Sky was played. They played Amazing Grace and a couple of other songs. When the service was over, everyone stood and left the funeral chapel. I felt very un-done. I didn't feel any peace for that beautiful girl who never got the chance to live her life. I know and I believe funerals are for those left behind, and I hope those who needed the peace most felt some. But somehow I don't think so.
I attended the second funeral today for a 61 year young friend of ours. Betty was not 61 inside. I don't think she ever felt like cancer was a sickness. it was something you fought, and she did. We hadn't seen Betty and Frank in quite sometime, I think Frank was suprised to see Ray and I there. I'm not quite sure why this funeral was much more emotional for me, but it was. Frank and Betty had only been married 9 years, just a year longer than Ray and I and she was sick for over 7 of those years. Not long enough at all. I don't know Ray as well as I want to, to let him go. Frank and Betty packed a lot into those 9 years. They owned a race horse, they spotted their dream home and after 2 years it came on the market and they sold the horse and bought that house.
The service today was very, very sweet. The minister had obviously known Betty for years. His voice cracked a couple of times going over his own memories. He knew the family and spoke directly to them many times. The service was led by a prayer. There were words and scriptures of comfort. At the end of the service, Frank had chosen songs that obviously meant something to he and Betty. The first was "Love the World Away" an older song by Kenny Rogers that you normally wouldn't think of in this type situation, but there wasn't a dry eye in the room. The minister introduced the second song, "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You", he stated that Frank and Betty would banter back and forth on whether Frank had "told" her lately. The last song was "Amazed" by Lone Star. None of the songs were hymms but they meant something, they weren't just songs chosen to fill time. This service felt more comforting, it provided a release for the family to let the emotion out. You felt that there was closure and peace.