The soil hadn’t even dried over his dad’s coffin when we lowered his mother’s into the ground. Heaped like caramel-shortbread mix over the grave, the rich Irish earth covered eighty-seven years of two lives from a different generation of living.
Gerry’s hand gripped the corner of my waist and pulled me closer, as if the closeness of life would push away the sting of death’s loss.
The funeral party stood around the bottom of the small hilly graveyard, wiping away more tears as three handfuls of dirt were thrown onto Carrie’s coffin. People who had worked in the shop with Carrie, neighbors, people who saw them walk about town together, the doctor who had answered their every call in the middle of the night, clergymen who had seen them sit in the middle of the church in silence just to feel His presence; these people shook their heads and hurt for the sons.
“Ah sure they couldn’t live without each other,” so many of them said as they shook the two brothers’ hands, the two left behind to carry on the legacy of kindness, generosity, and a love for God. “They were soul mates. They always said they wanted to go together.”
Perhaps one can look on it as a romantic event, but death is never romantic because others who loved the departed must now look forward and figure out how to live without them. Today the two brothers must pack up everything in the house their parents left behind—sheets, paintings, coffee cups. Everywhere they look they will see reminders of lives once lived, of a marriage that lasted sixty-four years.
Please pray for them.
Me? I’m back home again in the US, back to the daily living of today’s generations. I have coffee to drink, a blog post to write because I didn’t write one while I was away, a house to clean. Sometimes the important things lose all significance in the face of death.
If you have living parents, please call them today. Tell them you love them. Tell them you miss them. Tell them you’re sorry if you still have things to say sorry for. Life really is just a series of constant breaths, and we are all one breath away from eternity.
Live your life with fervent determination to build your own legacy of faith, hope, and love; and love much. These are the things we need to last forever.