Death has always been an awkward topic for me. This is due partly because death is hard on all of us: both the reminder of our own mortality and the newfound absence of someone we’ve loved; but it particularly awkward for me because I didn’t attend a funeral until I was nineteen years old! That funeral was the funeral of a complete stranger, an older gentleman who’d passed away after a long, full life, and I was only there to play music A year later, I had the privilege of playing music for the funeral of a friend, Nicole, taken a few months shy of her twentieth birthday by cancer.
When someone dies after having lived to a ripe old age, there is a real sense of grief – but it’s a grief mixed with joy. I’ll never forget the prayer service I led for an older woman, Ida, who had died in her nineties, surrounded by children and grandchildren praying the rosary. I remember them talking about her being able to join her husband who had pre-deceased her. While there were certainly tears, what I remember most vividly was a real sense of peace, a sense of the hope Christians are supposed to carry about the life to come. I also remember clearly that Nicole’s death had seemed nothing like that.Continue Reading