Friday, November 7, 2014

Saying a Formal Goodbye With Loved Others

There’s something about a gathering,
Of those who mourn in grief,
Where love between them enjoins,
That’s how God facilitates relief.
Well, the celebration of our little boy’s life is over. I ask myself how I feel. Having just had a tasty lunch with all my children, we all spoke of the impact Nathanael’s had over our lives. I feel remarkably normal. Not that I might not crash ‘n’ burn at some point soon. That will be okay. It is peace to know that emotions ought to be honoured and not undermined.
The hardest part of today, emotionally, was putting Nathanael’s casket into the back seat of the funeral director’s car. Immediately after the car drove off I had the surreal and eternally-weighted privilege of thanking our family and closest friends through teary eyes and a quivering chin. There is a downside to strength in grief; emotional experiences are contained in a way of acceptance and not everyone knows it impacts you just as much. The advantage, of course, is you are afforded the privilege of being entirely present. Today I was able to be entirely present. It was good enough to do my best. I did my best and I rest in that.
Seeing my daughters up there reciting one of my poems was a stand out moment. They all love Ethan so much; they loved Nathanael every bit as much. There were a hundred hugs and “we love you” was said both ways more than I remember. Many people said, “I don’t know what to say,” and Sarah and I said, “What you’ve said is perfect,” or “There’s nothing wrong in what you’ve said.”
There is no guilt to be entered into. We have honoured God the best we could. As a family behind us, supporting us, love has been unfailing. They’ve dealt with my frayed nerves and moodiness when the amount and nature of things were getting on top of me. They have done so much to engage in our grief and dovetail theirs in with ours. That’s what family are for: to rejoice together and to mourn together.
So many very esteemed colleagues and mentors came. The person we most respect in the ministry ran the service beautifully and so very respectfully.
I’m thankful for the patience of some who waited to greet us, despite having busy Friday schedules to cater to.
Our son, Nathanael Marcus, was sincerely honoured today. He has touched so many. Our grateful thanks go out to all who attended his funeral today and to those who thought to send through well-wishes.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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