UnCivil War: Familes, Funerals….and Hope

Monday night, a childhood friend died of cancer.  I was therefore extremely surprised (although why, I am not sure) when his sister called to tell me in a solemn voice, that I was “invited” to his wake, reception after the funeral,  and would I be among some specially chosen people to “say a few words.”  JT had not only converted to Buddhism in his 20’s, he had also told all and sundry, including his lawyer of his funeral plans:  none.  He didn’t want a funeral – just to be cremated and his ashes taken to Nag’s Head and scattered.  His significant other of 20 years had agreed with his choice and although she told me she’d like to do “something”, she was not going to do the funeral thing.  Maybe a picnic in the spring.  Nice.

I told Isabelle (or Isa as JT called his elder sister…because she…Isa  and he would fill in the blanks), thank you but I was following JT’s wishes and would not be around for the circus she had planned.  Well, not in those words of course….Now comes the guilt pumps:  But you and he were like brother and sister,  like twins, like the same side of a coin and until that Oriental guy came along, we always assumed the two of you would marry!  boohoo.  I told her how sad it was and all that, repeated my intention to not come and to respect my dear friend’s wishes.  And that by the way, the Asian man is Japanese.

The middle brother Meade, is an average guy, a truly nice guy – an engineer who ran away from home years ago to Arizona.  I had had a dreadful crush on him when I was in junior high.  I called Meade to see how he was doing.  Apart from being angry at Isa (because she Isa – YOU fill in the blanks), he was sad but had seen JT at Christmas and had a good visit.  Isa refused to come by because Meade is gay and brought his longtime partner – another nice guy.

Things like this, and here I am being a pessimist, seem to bring out the mean in people.  JT and Isa had never gotten along.  Now she was finally able to get back at  him by taking control of this.  At this point, I am appalled.  I have seen this happen in families repeatedly through the years. You got the best of mama’s stuff, you made out like a bandit, I took care of him and where were you????

Being a long time battler of chronic depression, and on the point of going into one of those depressions, makes all of this surreal.  I feel myself sliding into that abyss, grabbing on to roots, branches, rocks….anything to keep myself on the edge and not over the edge.  I’m getting ready to go to church.  Today my Bible promise was:  Jeremiah 29:13 You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

It reminds me of a loving Savior that will not let me go over the edge, who will take my hands and hold me tightly.  The sun is shining brightly.  It is cold but it is after all, winter.  My promise verse reminds me of when I had cancer and how I was held and kept safe and loved…..You shall seek me, and find me…..

So…..in spite of it all, I am going to continue to hope and believe and trust.  I think I just now had my “funeral” for JT.  Music was his first and last love and it held him and sustained him.  I’m grateful my Lord Jesus holds and sustains me, in spite of families, depression.

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