(continued from Part A)
I have a couple of books on death that I bought many years ago. They are about the funeral business, ways to care for your own dead.
Without taking up this post to discuss my own plans, I want to just briefly say that I will not be present for my own death and burial. So I have already told Michael that he is to not spend one stinkin' cent more on me than he absolutely must. I don't want him to feel like he has to come and visit my grave. I won't be there and I don't want him tethered emotionally to a plot of dirt.
And most importantly, I want the services to be joyful and happy. I want it to be a party. I will be with my Lord and very happy. I want those who love me to be freed from a perpetual cycle of mourning. If tears come, OK, that's going to be a natural thing, but I don't want that to be the focus. I want my entrance to eternity to be recognized for what it is. A CELEBRATION!
And so I was thrilled to find out that Todd wanted the exact same thing. And he'd even come up with exactly what the party was to be like. It was amazing and wonderful!
He wanted a representation of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. For any of you who are not familiar with the future of followers of Christ, that is the short time we will have alone with Him before we return with Him to the earth to set up His earthly Kingdom which will reign for 1000 years. The Hebrew wedding tradition God set for His people in the Torah is a picture of those who accept Christ's offer of life with Him.
So since Todd was leaving to be with Yeshua (that is Jesus Christ actual given name in the language He spoke while here) he wanted all of us to be reminded of what he was experiencing at that very time, or would experience very soon. What a thoughtful gift he gave.
So the visitation was big. Todd had given so much of his life in service to others that many knew him and loved him. But rather than it being a somber and dark time, for the most part there was much joy and laughter in that funeral parlor.
The day of the service and burial dawned early. We had a party to arrange.
We were to dress up festively. I knew there would be those who did not understand, so I did what quite a few people ended up doing. I dressed partly in black, and the rest very colorfully and festive. Though we may know and rest, we have to be careful not to crush or offend others who have no understanding, and care for them.
I made a basketful of wedding cookies. I love those, so I was very pleased to be able to make them. Michael and I arrived to help set up in the gymnasium of a large local church who allowed us to use their facilities.
The tables were almost all set up.
The theme was to be white cloths, clear glass, silver and gold. And party foods.
Ah, there's three plates of those cookies!
The service was to begin at 11, so we made our way there shortly before. Our friends were doing the praise and worship music. What a beautiful time of celebratory worship we had.
They did one of my favorite songs. Please give this a listen if you have the time...
One of Todd's passions was Drum Corps. He did it in high school and he still went back and worked with them all the time. I wish I had this cadence that Todd wrote on video for you. But all I have is this photo. Let me just say, that those drums playing that way, brought our hearts leaping in our chests as we knew they were pounding out exultant celebration of Todd's arrival Home. We could hardly contain our enthusiasm. We wanted to shout out, but you never know who you might offend, so my friend and I simply grasped each other's hands and grinned with watery eyes.
OK, back for more setting up before the graveside burial service.
It was a glorious day. 88 degrees, a light breeze. Yeah, we had lumps in our throats and watery eyes, but I can't express the joy and happiness we also felt. I took no photos of Barbara there, but she and Maddie were smiling. The drum corps played again as the casket without Todd in it was brought near.
If you are asking yourself why I am putting something like this in a blog. Something that is usually so private and quiet and sad. It's because if you do not know the joy that comes from the knowledge of knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior, you need to know it! Nothing is more important than this truth. And here it is. Todd is gone. But he is HOME! We do not mourn as others mourn, but we rejoice because we know the truth. Please continue reading.
Now we will go back to celebrate Todd's life with us, but even more so, his life NOW!
The first tree turning, in the church parking lot, as Autumn approaches.
Barbara opening up the tables. Let's eat!
Desserts were moved to another area as we ran out of room.
One of these girls lost many family members over the last few years. It affected her deeply. I think seeing a celebration rather than mournful darkness and sorrow helped to heal.
Here are Barbara, Ben and Maddie. They are OK. They know the truth, and the truth sets you free.
Whew, look at those fancy tables.
This amazing kitchen was at our disposal. What a blessing!
Drink table. We are in the south. In the south you have sweet tea.
So many, I can't post them all.
I took photos of everyone in the room for Barbara. Here is just one that shows the hundreds of people who came to celebrate with us.
Maddie. A heart that is comforted by the Lord. When plans were first being made she did not understand the celebration, but it was the shock. She soon understood and healing began quickly.
Ben, wandering around as people went up and told stories of Todd.
The mood here was truly a party. Yes, we'd need to hug each other now and then. but I have to say it was a joyful time for most of us. Fill up, boys! Lots of food to put away here.
I was going around and getting group shots everywhere. Barbara happened to be at the last gtoup and she quickly posed with them.
That is a woman who knows God and trusts Him. If you do not. Ask me how. Giving your life to God will be the hardest thing you've ever done, but if you truly do, you will never regret it!
Here she is, telling the hilarious story of how Todd proposed.
Clean-up~! So much food! We packed as much of it as we could to store away for Barbara.
And then, Michael and I went to go do office cleaning.
The worst pang that has hit me was when driving past the building where we will meet for Sundays, I knew Todd would not be there to share that experience with us. That was weird and unhappy. But I would not wish him back. I would not do what those plaques say - climb up to Heaven and bring him back again. He is Home. I will be there soon as well. None of the pain will be remembered. No more evil in this world to live with. Only the goodness and love we were all meant to have.
Father, there is no way I can thank you for what You are, what You do for me. But I love You. And I offer You my life, so glad to be Your child, cherished and cared for.
Beautiful. Again. Thank you.