"The house looks like a cross between a florist's shop and a food court," says my father.
There's a wideness in God's mercy. The beautiful version from the Episcopalian hymnal, not the impossible one from the Presby hymnal.
Cards, flowers, emails, phone calls from across the country and two other continents. College students and recent graduates from the west coast to the east appearing in our church and on our doorstep.
Oh Lord, hear my prayer. Oh Lord, hear my prayer. When I call, answer me.
Crematorium. Gratitude for the book Here If You Need Me, which I had just finished. Not, as I had thought, because I needed to read about someone else's experiences after my own CPE. It seems that I read it because I needed to know how to accompany my son on his last journey.
People people people. Family and friends of twenty years taking care of everything. Going with us everywere. Bringing everything we need. Planning speakers and music. Being the speakers and music. Pastors completely at our disposal. A spiritual director who comes for hours. Jewish and Christian clergy from across the spectrum showing up at the funeral home.
John Bell/Iona music:
And wherever you go I will meet you,
Till you draw your last breath in the birthplace known as death;
Yes, wherever you go I will meet you, saying, "Here am I."
A church filled with people who care for us and nurture us and grieve with us. A church that causes me to shake my head in disbelief at those who would criticize or deride or dismiss us because we come together as Jew and Christian, gay and straight, believer and atheist, because we truly and deeply believe that it is impossible to be separated from the love of God. A Christian service which causes Jewish and atheist friends to say, "I love being in church." A service in which humor and sorrow blend in acknowledgment of reality.
A surprising number of voices saying to us, "I have walked in your shoes. Call me."
Psalm 139. Not Psalm 23.
And every once in awhile, a jagged crack in the numbness.
The first week with this terrible hole in our family, in our home, in our lives, in our hearts.