When was the last time you had a powerful experience? For me, yesterday. My sister-in-law's mom passed away - I knew her as Ditty and she was 97 and she lived a full life. She was a wonderful lady and I was lucky to know her.
Many things happened to me during the church service especially at the grave site, and at the restaurant get-together afterwards.
We all go to funerals. They are things we have to do for family members and friends. We endure them and then move on. Not this funeral.
As a deacon at my own church, I was overwhelmed by the powerful homily and eulogy. First of all, I rarely get to experience a service in a Catholic church — it was very moving. Father Richard Futie (Ditty's cousin) guided everyone through a myriad of emotions — praise, remembrance, sorrow, humor, and most of all, love.
His role was the hardest of all — to help each of us handle our grief and help us move on in life. In my opinion, it's one of the hardest 'speaking' jobs anyone could ever tackle.
The Eulogy was given by a family friend and a fellow coach (which I surprisingly found out later!) — Danny Martin. He brought singing, stories, love and remembrance to the part of the service. He made us remember that Ditty experienced all the events of the 20th and 21st centuries — from World War I to the iPad. It was wonderful.
In addition, Father Futie began the wake (the previous night before) by explaining what a wake really is and where the name 'wake' is derived. I originally thought it would be a 'yawner' — but Father Futie caught my attention, made me sit up, and relive this wonderful woman's life.
The Grave Site
I've gone through the death of both parents and I can tell you, the grave site is the hardest of all on everyone. It's the final goodbye. For me, I held it together through the wake and funeral service, but when I had to say goodbye to each of my parents, I was a wreck.
Father Futie again made the entire service a deeply religious experience, yet he also ensured that it was short and focused. Everyone was moved and it was a fitting experience to all place flowers on the casket.
At the restaurant afterwards, family and friends all ate great food and spoke lovingly about Ditty. Danny again regailed us with his entire song, and family and friends stood up to speak about how Ditty impacted each of their lives. We laughed, we sang, and we all healed one another.
When you run into unexpected experiences which change your life — grab and hold onto them tightly. They are the experiences which change you for the better and make you a stronger person.