Last time I wrote, I'd just found out about the suicide of a friend's daughter and attended the visitation. It was a painful afternoon. Blogging about it helped, but I have to admit that I was still hurting for my friend and her family. Also, I was quite concerned about the funeral. Would the pastors who were officiating be honest, or would they sweep the ugly truth under the rug in favor of platitudes?
An aside here: it was not a funeral, but a memorial service. There is a distinct difference; the terms are NOT interchangeable. At a funeral, the body is present in a casket. A funeral is followed by a burial, which may or may not be open to nonfamily members. A memorial service is held without the presence of a body in a casket. The burial has either already taken place before the service or the body has been cremated.
Christy's memorial service was such a blessing to be a part of. Two of the pastors from our church officiated, and they were clear about the fact that Christy committed suicide and the events that led up to it. They were clear about the fact that suicide is not the unpardonable sin, nor is it a worse sin than any other sin. The Gospel was presented in such a way as to be easily understood. I was proud of Christy's Mom and sister for their insistence that the truth be not hidden. I was even prouder of my pastors for the sensitive, compassionate and truthful way they addressed those present. It was truly a holy moment.
Perhaps the most moving part of the service, at least for me, were the eulogies give by Christy's Mom and her twin sister. Becky shared in a way that only a sister can and gave us much insight into the person that was her lifelong best friend. Claudia shared other stories that gave us insight into the pain that a parent experiences when they know their child is walking the path that Christy walked. There was much laughter among the many tears shed.
Christy herself shared at her own funeral via letters and journals that she left behind. What a poignant inside into this precious young woman's tortured but beautiful mind. I wish I'd truly known her.
After the service, the family received visitors in the lovely fellowship hall at the church. The food was provided by the church and the ladies of the church hostessed all of the guests. It was a blessing to see the church supporting the family in this way.
Claudia continued to be true to herself and allow the tears to come when they wished rather than stifling herself. Becky was the same. I was proud of them both. I was even prouder of how much those around them reached out in comfort.
At the reception, I began to understand how healing happens. It sneaks in quietly in little moments. I began to see some purpose in this tragic circumstance. I had the honor of sitting around with Christy's friends and assure them that yes, the pastor was telling the truth...suicide is no worse than any other sin. It is covered by the shed blood of Jesus like any other. They were eligible to be covered by that blood if they would embrace the gift of Christ's salvation. It was amazing news to several of them.
The memory of the day that stands out the most for me, though, was my time with Becky, Christy's twin sister. She'd obviously been wrung out emotionally and I went into protective "big sister" mode. I stayed close while her husband greeted people and helped her Mom.
At first, I was in my wheelchair and Becky, who is tall, was crouched down beside me talking. Then, she sat down on the floor. She looked so comfortable that I decided to join her on the floor. Lucy took advantage and hopped into my chair. Tony came in from changing his clothes for work to find the dog in the wheelchair and two sniffling women on the floor, sitting Indian style. The conversation, the setting, the tears, the normalcy of girl talk while sitting casually...they all led to a beginning of healing. That is how God works...in little moments, not just in big grand happenings.
The rest of the week passed in a blur of meetings with the tax attorney (yep, we're being audited, but almost have it resolved), grocery shopping and celebrations of July 4th. I tried to take it all in, but found myself again focusing on the little moments that made up the larger chunk of time.
It's late and I'm tired, but I want to close with one final thought: Don't miss the small moments. It's when God's still small Voice often speaks the most clearly.