Sorry, out of town....

Dateline: Mon 24 Sep 2007

For a funeral in Michigan late last week and into the weekend. It was very sad: a young woman, 38 years old, with a long history of chronic pain caused by spina bifida and other physical handicaps, died of an overdose of pain-killers, possibly, likely, deliberate. She was related to my daughter-in-law Joylynn.

This lovely young woman left behind a grieving husband, an 8-year-old daughter, a twin sister and a broken-hearted mother and dad.

But her mother was the essence of grace and courage. When my grandson Gabriel, age 6, wanted to approach the open casket, the mother stood by his side, patiently and kindly answering his questions. "Is she cold? Can I touch her?" Yes and yes. "Why is she so hard?" The woman explained death beautifully: "Do you know the story of Adam, how God breathed life into him? Well, Maureen's breath is gone now because she has died. Her breath has gone back to God. But it's OK for you to touch her. She is still my little girl, but this is just her body here. She is with God now." Then she invited Gabriel to say the Our Father with her, which they did.

Thank God, too, for the presence of members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. They were there in force, and the Serenity Prayer was the cornerstone for the sendoff: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as he did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it: Trusting that He will make all things write if I surrender to His will; that I may be resasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen. Feel it. Love it. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Honor it."

Most of us know the first part of this poem, after all; I printed it all here because it's unusual to see it all spelled out. The ending "Feel it" etc. is new to me.

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