On my journey around a beautiful older cemetery in my town this scene caught my eye and my camera lens. I have witnessed very few funerals in my lifetime but when I saw the tent from a distance I knew that there must have been a burial recently and made my way to this site. I was saddened by the emptiness of the area, the lack of the gravestone (I am sure it is being made) and the dead flowers lying upon the fresh grave.
It brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart for the people who left the grave a few days ago. I never lamented the person in the grave knowing full well that they have gone hopefully to a better place and I proceeded to say a little prayer for their soul. What touched my heart and caused the pain was the thought of the neglect of the family members left here on earth that would soon be theirs. When a person dies most times the family is surrounded by other family members and friends to help them with the arrangements and be there for their grief. It all happens so quickly from the onset of the death until the burial can be as quick as 4 days. Then the ones left behind are just that left behind like the grave site empty with a freshly dug wound waiting for a more permanent way to cope with their new life without someone who once made them whole.
So many times when we know someone who’s loved one has passed from this world to the next we send a sympathy card, go to the funeral home to pay our respects, attend the funeral and we might call them a few days after. Then we wonder what should we do next? It’s awkward and uncomfortable and so in our uncertainty many of us just stay away not to be hurtful but literally not knowing how to help.
My father just lost a friend of his who was his neighbor for 15 years but they moved a year before his death. He was in his early 50’s and although he had battled illness the death was unexpected at the time. Leaving behind a young widow and a college bound teenage son and a young adult son my Dad wanted to help in some way. So he visited the youngest son and told him he would write him in college because he will be going away for school. He sat and talked with him about his dad and how proud he was of this amazing young man and the son was touched by his words and happy to have my dad visit him. My dad said that so many times people just don’t know what to say so they talk around the elephant in the room. He read in a book that told about the people grieving and that they want to talk about the person who died and remember them. They don’t want to avoid their name and that subject. Yes, they might cry but it’s ok to witness someone crying give them a hug; tell them your praying for them just be there.
If you know someone who has lost a loved one recently write them a card, give them a call, visit them try to ease their suffering by being an active friend in their life. That person is struggling to cope and they need to be surrounded more than ever after the flowers have faded and the headstone has been put in place. Find a way in your life to make that person a part of your life weekly. Don’t avoid talking about the person who has died and don’t be afraid to say the wrong thing because if you are talking to the ones left behind that is so much more comfort than leaving them behind as well.
God wants us to surround each other with love and goodness all the days of our lives in the times of crisis, joy, mourning and everyday life. Let no one be left like the fresh grave alone, for the body within is there but the soul rests with God. Let the ones left behind find comfort in your care so that they may witness God as well in your friendship.