A hope note
She died at age 90, exceeding her biblical three score and ten by a couple of decades. All four of her children, two sons and two daughters, were with her when she drew her last breath.
One of her sons spoke at the funeral. ‘She never stopped being my mother,’ he reminisced. ‘I can hear her now looking down and saying, ‘Stand up straight; shave your beard; don’t chew with your mouth open.”
‘I showed her on one occasion when she insisted on my cleaning my plate of the beets, which I hated. The beets went down but came back up. She never insisted on that again.’
The son concluded his remarks with a quotation from a book his sister had given him years earlier. The title of the chapter was, ‘When Someone Dies, Cook.’ He read: ‘There is nothing to say; there is no language for death. Hold each other and let the tears shake your bodies; eat; tell stories; laugh without guilt. Most of all, forgive the dead, and forgive yourself. We never love as much as we should, but we all love as much as we can.’
If there’s such a thing as a good funeral, this was that. The tributes glorified the deceased no more in death than in life. The speakers didn’t ‘preach her into heaven.’ Her humanity came shining through.
I liked the forgiveness theme. Morrie, the dying man in ‘Tuesdays With Morrie,’ offered the writer interviewing him this deathbed wisdom: ‘Forgive Everyone Everything!’ It’s too bad that it takes someone’s death to ram that truth home.
And I liked the advice in the title, ‘When Someone Dies, Cook.’ Everyone craves magic words to comfort the bereaved. A kind act may achieve what words cannot.