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Still a Little Boy

April 2, 2012

It’s April and for the last two weeks, it has also been spring officially. It seems that all of humanity takes a deep breath and drinks in the new, fresh smells of grass and flowers, observing how things come to life after a long period of dormancy. I know I did early yesterday evening and the “drink” was glorious.

O.k. – enough with poetic musings. What I want to write about – actually share with you this month – are some thoughts on the situations and events I’ve observed and participated in and how they relate to relationship.

Last week I attended the funeral of a 93 year old man who’d had a “good run.”  He’d served his country in World War II, married, raised a family, built a career, contributed time and talent to his church and community – you know all of those “boring, mundane things” that make a life a good one and well lived.  He’d had his share of heart breaks and challenges and certainly wasn’t perfect but, like most of his generation (the greatest), he’d get back up, dust himself off, start all over again and work/try harder.  A testament to what folks thought about him – and his family – was the fact that well over 100 (perhaps close to 200?) people attended his funeral, many from out of town.  This is an amazing fact given that most of his friends had already predeceased him and that the funeral was during the week.

One of his sons – a man in his 60s – gave one of the eulogies.  He shared some stories about his father and family and choked up a few times.  The eulogy wasn’t sloppily sentimental but was, rather, more of a love letter from a son to a father. I whispered to my husband, “you’re listening to a little boy who has just lost his daddy.” And, we were.

At the reception after the service, after most guests had left, my husband and I were still lingering and visiting when I glanced over and saw a table where all four of the deceased’s children had finally gotten a moment to sit down and were sitting together, by themselves. In that instance, for one brief moment, I saw them as their parents must have always seen them in their mind’s eye – as the little girls and boys they had birthed, nursed, disciplined, argued with, forgave…and loved.

You see, folks, no matter the circumstances, it doesn’t matter how old you are or your parents are when you lose them, I truly believe that at the very depths of our psyche the child in all of us is the one who mourns that loss the most. I shared this with the 60-something year old son who gave his father’s eulogy as I was offering my condolences and he looked me right in the eye and said, “yes, you are right – you get it,” and gave me a warm, lingering hug of appreciation.

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