Life goes on. It has taken me a long time to truly wrap my head around that thought, but attending funerals and memorial services the past decade has brought me to understanding.
When we gather to formally say "good bye" to a loved one or friend, we are honoring that person and their kin with our presence, our praise, and our respect. Except for those nearest the deceased, most of those present at the service will go on without a significant shift in their lives. For those closest to the vortex, life may go on, but not so quickly, and not so completely.
We grieve at the loss of a loved one. It is a pain that time cannot heal, but can make more tolerable. My father died over forty years ago, and thoughts of him sometimes cause my eyes to well up with tears. The first years after he died were the hardest.
Mere weeks before he died, he was well and I was overseas in the military. Then six weeks later I was standing at his graveside, bidding him farewell. He was forty five at his death. I was barely twenty two. Of all my fears about being in the military in the late 1960s, this had not been one of them.
I was not ready for it, but life went on. I buried myself in work and college study. In the next six years, I would blast through four years of college work and three years of law school work. The toll on my personal life was significant, and does not bear repeating. I suppose you could say I was running away from his death.
Ten years after my Dad died, my son was born. It was wonderful, but never being able to have my Dad hold my son was a regret. My boy learned of his Granddaddy Moore through me.
Frost spoke wisely, and his lesson is complete in its simplicity. Life is about going on. We are compelled to do it. The survival of our species, of our family, depends on it. No matter who in our tribe gets eaten by wolves or falls over a cliff, the survivors must go on.
Jesus alluded to this thought when he said "let the dead bury their dead." Jesus surely knew the mandated practices for burial. He did not hesitate to tell his followers that going forward in their lives was more important than burial practices. Others may interpret those verses differently, but that is what I believe he meant.
Jesus told us to "be as little children." My former mother in law died twenty four years ago. On her funeral program, she had a poem which captured that thought. It advised us to not begrudge the little children as they played with joy shortly following such a service. Such is their manner. They live in today, and do not really understand our grief and sadness at our loss.
When we attend a funeral or memorial service, we would do well to adopt the childlike approach. This moment is all we have. Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow may never come.
It goes on.
© 2014, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.