I got to the service early, my friend’s mother said they were expecting a lot of people and that we needed to arrive early. I was the first person to arrive. I had driven two and a half hours that morning, in my car with the bumper zip tied in place, to make it in time for the 10 am memorial service.
She was the cousin of a girl I’ve been friends with since I was 13. I knew her family well. I had started reading her blog about a year ago. Knowing how close she was to my friend, we started praying for her in our family prayers. None of my boys knew who Cassandra was, but they knew we always included her when we prayed for the sick. She was 29 years old and left behind a husband and one young son. She died of cancer.
Funerals are always hard and, honestly, I hate sad things. Like, really, really hate them. I will not ever watch the movie Legends of the Fall again, and I’m 200% sure they should use it as a form of emotional torture. If it doesn’t work they can follow it up with The Thornbirds and call it a day.
This funeral was especially difficult to attend. I went to support my friend, who is really like family. I just watched the looped video of photographs of this woman and her life and cried. I listened to her family courageously get up and talk about her and laugh and cry. The good part was that it was clear this woman knew her redeemer and for her, the pain and suffering is over. I truly believe that time passes differently for those who have died and they suffer not the endless time between their death and the deaths of those they left behind. It’s the most difficult for the ones here who have to remember and wait according to the earthly clock.
I tried to think of how to explain what I felt as I attended and the only comparison I can come up with involves crossing the street. For many of my growing up years we lived right downtown. One day I was walking downtown and was waiting to cross the street and I started to step out into the road. Something suddenly stopped me. I wondered for years if it was an angel because I was leaning forward and then motion just STOPPED. Right then a very fast moving car whizzed by blowing my hair straight back. The car was so close to the side of the road that had I completed that step, it would have hit me. I would have been a goner.
Attending the memorial service for this young mother who died of cancer, and having just recently been caught up in my own cancer and treatment, was just almost too much. I felt like once again an angel prevented me from stepping out into the street. It could have been me. It wasn’t. Life is transient, but I still get to go home to my family, and wake up and cuddle my boys and laugh with my husband. The challenges of the year, though many and varied, are basically nothing compared to that.