My husband's bil has been fighting cancer for about five years. At first it looked like he might have it beat, but as is so often the case with cancer, it was still there, waiting for the right time to make a sneak attack. I'm not being flippant. That's the way it looks to me. He passed away a couple weeks ago, and we had his funeral last weekend. Tim and I drove north with two of his brothers and left the girls at home.
We were able to stay with his oldest brother and his wife in their cabin in the mountains. I always come back from there feeling as though I've touched heaven. His brother said he figures when he dies he won't have to go anywhere. Love his attitude. In spite of us gathering together to bury his bil, it was a good visit. All Tim's siblings (minus two) were there so there was a lot of visiting, eating, singing and reminiscing. We had a couple great conversations about life and all those big ideas.
On the other hand, it was a difficult weekend. Tom (bil) left behind his wife (Tim's sister) of 34 years and a son and his new wife. Tim's sister and her dh not only lived together, they worked together, built their business together, built their house together. Everything. She is going to be so alone. Such a helpless feeling knowing what she's going through and realizing how little you can really do. She had a lot of support the last couple weeks, but that will fade away. She does have a very active church group, and I hope they're there for her. The only family is the brother we stayed with. I can't even try to imagine what it feels like because it frightens me - being alone.
I have never attended a funeral like this one. After briefly talking about Tom's life, they spent the rest of the time telling everyone how they must accept Jesus as their savior; how nothing would make Tom happier than to know people turned to the Lord during his funeral; how the only way to paradise - if we ever want to see Tom again - is to accept Jesus. Then they asked us to pray 'the prayer'! We were preached to. Then the minister said if anyone accepted the Lord, to please let someone know so they could keep track. Keep track?
It bothered me - which probably says I have a big problem - which I do. We went there to celebrate Tom's life, not to be evangelized. It seemed that we were a captive audience and they took advantage of it. I felt offended. I don't like feeling that way. It was not guilt. It made me angry. But I don't want to feel angry towards anyone. I want to let people live the way they need to, wherever they are on their journey. It should not offend me. So I left the funeral realizing I still have such a very, very long way to go. For every two steps I take forward, I take one back. Or maybe three back. Alas.
So I've been pondering death, heaven, hell, salvation. Basically, driving myself nuts, as usual. I walked away from that funeral believing less than when I walked in. Not what the people in that church wanted. I would sure disappoint them.
How sad it must be to die believing that some people, family, friends, that you love dearly, you will never see again because they will be in hell. Just how depressing.
We are taking the girls on a short trip tomorrow, probably just one or two nights. The girls are so excited to be getting away; truthfully, Tim and I are pretty excited, too.