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I hate the part when the pallbearers move the casket.
I think this is only the second funeral I’ve been to that I remember the moving of the casket. The first was in May 2004, when my dad’s best friend Donnie died of liver cancer. My dad was a pallbearer and I can vividly remember the sad, glassy look in his eyes as he walked that casket out of the church.
In this funeral, the military men rolled the casket out on its base, but it still held the same feeling. I don’t know if it’s the finality–the end of the funeral, the real saying good-bye after just days of pulling this together have occupied your mind. It is heartbreaking to see that casket leave the church or funeral home. Once you are at the cemetary, it’s too late. The person is really gone. He has his own plot there, a marker with his name being prepared already.
It laid so heavy on my heart at this funeral that no one should have to lose a child. My husband and I both have child deaths in our families (my uncle, his brother), and it leaves such a terrible mark on a family. I don’t know how a mother lives after she loses a child … but I do know mothers who have. Who do.
It struck me that the very first mother lost two sons: Abel, who did not just die, but was killed by his own brother; and Cain, as he was banished to the east. How Eve must have wept for her two children, lost in different ways. I think I’ve always considered her next son, Seth, a happy replacement for Abel, but I’m sure there were those nights not recorded in Scripture: the ones where she wept over Seth, guilty for wanting him to be Abel, angry at herself for being joyful as he took his first baby steps. Remembering the first steps of two other children.
It was a honor to be able to attend the funeral of a man who gave his life for our country. I know he will be sorely, acutely missed by his family and friends. Please keep them in your prayers. You can read about Jeffrey’s story here.