My wife Roxanne has always said that she would rather attend a funeral than a wedding. Sound morbid? Though she finds weddings more fun because of the bride’s dress, the happy couple, and the festive receptions or dance, it rarely motivates her to improve, forgive, or rededicate her life. Funerals do.
At the last minute this weekend, I was freed up to attend the funeral of a humble and respected man, my Great Uncle Steve Brown of Loa, Utah.
His funeral was held on September 11th and it turned out to be rather fitting. His small community, along with most towns in this great country, fly streets full of the American flag as a memorial to that tragic day. Uncle Steve loved our country’s flag! For him it symbolized the freedoms he cherished and sacrificed for as a veteran of the military, the sheriff’s department, a member of the coast guard, and the highway patrol. He loved his country and his community and lived his whole life in their service.
Steve was physically intimidating, especially in uniform, but cut from the most gentle and kind cloth. Looking at his picture on the program, memories flooded back to me. Always upon greeting me as a young boy, Uncle Steve would engulf my small hand in both of his, as he gently shaking my hand, and looking in my eyes with his shy and kind smile.
He also loved his family and served them faithfully. His marriage to my great-aunt Allie is among the most ideal relationships I can think of. One man said “In all the years that I have known Brother Steve and Sister Allie, I have never once seen them come into church that they weren’t holding hands or linking arms.” You need to know that Allie and Steve were faithful weekly church goers. They were in love. It wasn’t showy, it was simply understood and admired.
While it’s sad and painful to lose a loved one, especially for those closest to the deceased, once the sadness ebbs, we are left with their legacy, the sweet memories we had with them, and for many who believe in an after life, confidence that our association with them will resume.
Here’s my point. What’s good for the goose is good for the goslings. If reflecting on a person\’s life and legacy can inspire me to do better, it can do the same for teens. Consider taking your kids along to these special services, rather than thinking of this as “Adults Only.” Attending a funeral might:
- Move them outside themselves to learn how to support people in their grief.
- Show them that their time here is precious and should not be squandered.
- Introduce them to someone they may want to emulate in the way they live their own life.
- Convince them that leaving a legacy is so much more than whatever financial assets are left behind.
So my advice to you is, don’t miss a funeral if you can help it. You owe it to the dearly departed, your children and yourself!
To Family Happiness!