In my extended family, we tend to gather together quite rarely. The occasions that tend to me most successful at bringing the family together are funerals. Typically people tend to think of funerals as sad and solemn occasions. In our family funerals have the usual share of tears, however, during the lunch afterwards one would often wonder at the amount of laughter that is present. Much of it comes from reminiscing over memories of the dearly departed family member. Some of it just as the family enjoys the company of one another as we catch up with relatives we have not seen in a long time. It’s not that the family does not respect the uncle, aunt or grand parent that has passed away, or that we are not grieving. In some ways the laughter and fellowship becomes part of the grieving process. It is as Solomon observes in today’s proverb:
13 Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
Proverbs 14:13 (NLT)
When we all go home after the funeral is over, the grief still remains, catching us off guard as we encounter little reminders of the person that is no longer with us. When we lose a parent, or a spouse, the grief never really “goes away”—we just learn how to live with it as time proves to us that we can go on without that person. I lost my mother-in-law fourteen years ago, we still miss her, there are still occasions, as we go through old boxes of things we haven’t sorted yet and find little reminders, that cause us to feel that lump rise up in our throat, as the memories trickle down our cheeks. Thankfully, the memories are most often, happy ones, but it still hurts a little. I suspect this pain of separation will continue to hurt until the day I also step through the veil of death into eternity and am reunited with all those who have gone before. What a party that will be!