Today I presided at Ann's funeral.
Her brother and her son both gave eloquent and heart-felt eulogies. I told her son afterwards that I've heard lots of tributes and his was in the top three. He began with this great line: "How can I put 65 years of my mother's life in this short, 90 minute speech."
Humor is a great tribute in a funeral eulogy. Humor gives honor to the dead and to the living.
Communion was a big problem since we were in the parish hall--the church is too small--and people were standing 4 wide and 20 deep in the center aisle.
So we gave them communion right after the family and sent them to the upper hall until the others could receive.
I said of Ann that she was a 'dear soul' and a 'fighter'. Her soul was deep and wide and her son captured that in his remarks. And she fought cancer three times before losing the fight.
I saw her the day of the night she died and though she was pretty full of morphine, when I said, "Ann, it's Jim Bradley", she opened her eyes for a moment and smiled.
There were all these pictures on boards--as most funerals these days have--and she was smiling in every single picture.
A dear soul and a fighter--can't get much better than that.
I always quote St. Francis of Assisi in a funeral homily: "Death is not a door that closes, it is a door that opens and we walk in, all new, to the presence of the one who loves us best of all."
Death, to us, certainly is a closed door. I'll never see Ann's smile again. But I pray for Ann it was that door that opened....
Oh, dear soul Ann, rest in peace, and be 'all new'.
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