As I mentioned in my July 7th post, this month marks the 4-year anniversary of my Mom’s departure from this life into her eternal reward in heaven, where she joined my Dad who passed away in 2002. July 11, 2011, was the day we laid her earthly body to rest next to my Dad’s at the Veterans Cemetery in New Hampshire.
An Air Force Honor Guard was present and performed a beautiful flag-folding ceremony with the flag from Mom’s casket (just as an Army Honor Guard did at our Dad’s service).
One of the youngest soldiers kneeled and presented the flag to our brother. We all cried and even that young soldier had tears in his eyes as he thanked us for our Mom’s service to the country.
That evening, after having a birthday party for my brother as Mom had wanted us to do (his birthday is July 11), we all went to Gilford Beach – where we all spent many summers as a family – and watched the sunset over Lake Winnipesaukee. It was a peaceful and soothing ending to an emotional day.
Then, on July 12th, family members and friends gathered at the church in Laconia, NH, to honor the life of my Mom and share precious memories. It was a beautiful ceremony, as family, friends, and many nurses who had worked with Mom over her 50+ year nursing career, paid tribute to her life and what she had meant to us all. We family members wore purple clothing and accessories–Mom’s favorite color–in her honor. After the main service, we had a reception with refreshments, and lots of displays of pictures and special mementos for everyone to enjoy.
My Mom had a daily devotional calendar with quotes from Max Lucado’s book, Traveling Light (which I now have in my home). Ironically, the theme of the devotionals over the days between when Mom passed on and the day of her funeral…were about how Jesus, as our Shepherd, guides us from the valley of the shadow of death into His eternal presence. Here are some of those lines:
“He knows the path. He has walked this trail many times. He will lead the flock to the mountains. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).”
“He will lead us to the high country. When the pasture is bare down here…our Shepherd will lead us out of the flat lands. He will take us to the mountain by way of the valley. He will guide us to His house through the valley of the shadow of death.”
“We all have to face death. In a life marked by doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and school appointments, there is one appointment that none of us will miss: the appointment with death. ‘Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God’ (Hebrews 9:27).”
“BUT…I will fear no evil; for YOU are with me.”
–Max Lucado in “Traveling Light” [devotionals for dates July 7 to 11]
Thank you for visiting this weekend, as I made a change from my usual format to reflect on this special 4th anniversary of remembering my Mom, as she left this life and entered eternal life. Among her final words to us were, “I’m ready to go, to meet my Lord and my Ben.” [My Dad’s name is Ben].
So what are YOUR thoughts?
Have you lost someone special to you? Do you like the idea of celebrating the life of a loved one, rather than getting too weighed down with sorrow at their passing?
Do you believe you and your loved ones are “ready to go” and that you will see loved ones again some day who have already passed on?