This sermon was submitted by Rev. Phortis Nespin and we are grateful for his contribution.
I was at a funeral this week for the mother of a neighbor. This neighbor is also a Commissioner with my wife in the park district. He is a great guy, very hard working, and generous. During heavy storms when the power would go out, he would go from house to house starting generators and refueling them when they ran low. Once he went into my garage and started my generator when I was in Ohio and the power went out. He is a good man.
It was heart breaking to see him so distraught at the passing of his mother. As I sat in the Catholic Church and listened to the priest give a very nice homily, I could only think that the message was not quite right. Although he said the right things and he was very personal (he knew the family a long time), he was not comforting the family as well as I expected. I tried to think what was missing in his talk and I finally came up with an answer. At least I think it is.
The priest talked of how she was a good woman, a fine wife and mother, outgoing and caring. He talked about how she was going to be missed. The priest told a story that the couple met at a wedding, each having separate dates. He told of how the man asked the woman who would become his wife, to wait right here while I take my date home. The story goes on to say that the wife waited at the wedding hall for his return and he did. The priest then says how she is waiting for him in heaven.
Should you say that to a grieving husband of 65 years that is not ready to move on without his love? What would keep him from taking drastic measures to see her now or to purposely let himself go, withering away until death finally takes him?
There was no hope in his speech for the future. There was no talk of her being with us as spiritual energy. There was no acceptance of the inevitability of death and that one must continue to love and support the family that remains.
But then, one of the mother’s friends spoke at the end of the service. This woman that spoke, was a long-time friend of the family, which had spent many hours with the woman, her family, and her now grieving husband. She spoke of family ties and sticking together to support each other through this difficult time. Her words were simple and delicate. She called the five children by their names and quietly said;
"Your mother is not gone, anytime you need her, just talk to her!"