First, his death was unexpected. He wasn’t sick. He wasn’t suffering. He wasn’t expected to die. He was alive one night and was gone the next morning. He literally fell asleep and didn’t wake up. I must say, though, that this is how I want to go. There was no suffering, no pain and no fear. What a blessing for him.
However, for his family, it meant no goodbye. No one knew he wasn’t going to wake up, so they didn’t say goodbye. They may or may not have hugged him the last time they saw him, and they may or may not have told him that they loved him. There was no closure, and they will spend quite a while, I would imagine, mourning the fact that they did not have one more hour with him.
Part of the reason his death hit me hard was because it reminded me that we really aren’t promised a tomorrow. Sure, anyone who goes to church hears that. The preacher says, “Come now and repent of your sins, because tomorrow may never come.” Most of us don’t live like we really believe it, though. I have spent much of today wondering how I would live if I knew that today was all I had. Have I told my loved ones that I love them? Do they know how much they mean to me? Am I right with God? Am I ready to face Him without another minute to make myself right? We truly aren’t promised another day or even another minute. This could be my last breath….. Whew. It wasn’t, but you get the point.
What if one of my loved ones died today? Would I be filled with regret that I didn’t tell them how much I loved them? Would I live the rest of my live wishing I could do things differently. Watching a family lose someone so suddenly and unexpectedly really has made me think.
The other thing about this man’s funeral that affected me so much was what his kids said about him. All three of his sons and his older grandson stood up and spoke at the funeral. I was amazed that they were able to do that, and they all four eloquently stated how much they loved their dad/granddad and how much they would miss him.
I did not hear any of them talk about how much money he had or what gifts he gave them for Christmas. They didn’t talk about his job; in fact, I don’t even know what he did for a living. They talked about what kind of parent he was. They said he taught them, not through words but through example:
- To go to church. He made them go whether they wanted to or not, and they saw him serving in church. It was through his actions and not his words that they learned about God.
- A good work ethic. He did the best job he could, even when his boss wasn’t looking, and his boys learned through his example. They said he taught them that how they did their jobs was more important than what their jobs were, and he taught them to work hard and be honest.
- To be a good parent. They said he attended every sports event and music concert of all three boys and the grandsons. He loved them. He hugged them. He called them and told them how important they were. The sons said they had learned to be good husbands and fathers by watching their dad’s example.
What better legacy could this man have left? As I sat there listening to his sons talk, I realized how blessed he was. I don’t know whether God allows us to hear what is said at our own funeral or not, but if this man could hear, he had to feel fulfilled. He also had to be proud to see his sons and what they had become because of him.
I hope one day my kids will say the same things about me. I hope that I am serving as an example to them, and I hope that the day-to-day hustle and bustle is not ruling my life to the point that I am not teaching them what I should. I hope I live my life in a way that is a positive example for them.
This man achieved all that any of us could hope for, and while it was sad that he was gone so fast, what a blessing for him and for his family that his was a life well lived. -Al