Funerals

When you enter our house, you pass a picture on our foyer wall. It is of a road that disappears into a forest. The leaves are tinted by Fall. It makes you want to walk down the road to see what lies beyond.

Eleanor, my friend, painted it. Years ago I saw it in her house and commented that it was a nice picture. Years later she summoned me to the convalescent hospital where she had become a resident. There she presented the painting to me. “I remember that you said you like this. I wanted you to have it.”

Eleanor just passed away. She was a few months away from 90, born the year the Treaty of Versailles was signed. I imagine her walking down the road of our picture, now out of sight somewhere deep in the forest.

Her family called me and asked me to preside at the funeral. I did the same for Eleanor’s husband, 14 years ago. “She wouldn’t have it any other way,” her daughter said when I thanked her for the honor of doing the funeral. It was sweet to be able to recall the pleasant memories I have of this sweet lady.

I actually like to do funerals. It is a unique opportunity to celebrate a life and to think about the contributions of that life to our own. Eleanor blessed me. I loved her kisses at church. I loved her positive, encouraging speech. I loved the way she gave her life to bless others.

Now she’s strolling down that road.

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