Please don't cry over my casket
For I am not there
Please don't cry at my grave
My soul has been set free
I know it's hard not to cry
I've been down that road one too many times
I have no more pain
I have no more sickness
And I would not change a thing
As I walk through the gates of Heaven
Mom Dad our brothers and sisters
Will welcome me with open arms
Here I am free of that pain
Don't blame yourself
It was my time to go home
This is where I'm supposed to be
Don't dwell on things which you cannot change
I will always be in your heart
I will always be watching over you
When that day comes for you to come home
I will be there to welcome you
With open arms
And walk you through the gates of Heaven
You will be greeted by our family & friends
Who came home before you
Until that day I will be watching over you.
It's been two months since my dad passed away, and I can thankfully say that I'm doing much better emotionally.
We had a very small funeral service for him on June 19, which was absolutely gut-wrenching for me. I don't have much experience with death, so even just being that close to his ashes especially after not having seen him in so long was almost too hard to bear.
During his service, I did nothing but heave ugly, loud sobs. I can't even remember the last time I cried that hard. It seemed like every prayer, every word spoken, pulled at every emotion I had buried deep down inside long ago.
The sermon was the hardest, but it was also cathartic in a way. The Reverend didn't know my dad--she only knew him through talking to my mom. But everything she said was perfect.
"Because we are created in God’s own image, we yearn for relationship, and beauty, and a sense of rightness about the world. Because we are human, however, we tend to get off-track. Fear, anger, disease, confusion...all kinds of brokenness can get in the way of our longing for relationship, stability and home."
"...the gifts of connection and stability for which we long were gifts that sometimes eluded him. That is its own particular kind of loss for those who loved him, and we mourn that today as well."
"We yearn for God because God yearns for us, and God has brought Bill home. That doesn’t mean everything will be easy for those of us who remain. There is mourning to do. There may be the work of forgiveness and reconciliation yet to go. We humans always wound each other, even with the best of intentions, and whenever someone dies there may well be wounds that need healing, sorrows that need soothing, joys that need to be remembered."
-The Rev. Sarah Ball-Damberg (excerpts from her funeral sermon for Bill Kehoe)
I debated with myself about whether I would actually go to the service. Part of me thought I lost the right to mourn him when I cut him out of my life. Part of me thought it would be too hard. All of me was scared. And I was right, it was too hard. It was scary. But it was closure. Almost as if the Reverend's words and the prayers we said transformed my tears from pain to healing. I do take comfort that he's in a better place, free from that fear, anger, disease and confusion that plagued him in his life here on earth. As the Reverend said, "Bill is at rest in the God who made him, cherished him, and cherishes him still. Thanks be to God. Amen."
Between May 31 and June 19, not a day passed that I didn't cry at least once. But the poem above, which was included in his memorial bulletin, really resonated with me. My mom told me that it's exactly what my dad would have said, and I am able to take comfort in that. I still have some moments of sadness and pain, of course. I'm still working on healing my wounds, soothing my sorrow and remembering the joys. But time heals. I'll get there.
|Funeral service bulletin. Photo circa 1986.|