I am typing this with a tear streaked face, blood-shot eyes and a headache from crying. That is because Frank & I just came from a funeral for my friend’s dad. Amanda’s dad had cancer throughout his body and was in tremendous pain at the end of his life. Amanda’s daughter is my daughter, Marie’s, BFF and Amanda is Ann’s Godmother. I did not know Amanda’s dad that well, I have probably seen him eight times in the six years I’ve known Amanda. However, he was the kind of guy that made you feel like you had known him all your life. Amanda’s dad had suffered from various types of pain throughout his life. From back injuries, COPD, a broken heart and then cancer. In his 68 years on this earth, he helped raise three kids, buried his teenage son, buried his wife of 39 years and spent 10 years with his second wife. Yet, through it all…through all the pain and sorrow, he always had a smile on his face and every one he met walked away smiling too.
I am sure that many people at the funeral saw me crying and thought I had known him all my life and that we were very close. Actually, in the last two days I have learned more about Amanda’s dad then I can believe. Unfortunately, after hearing all the beautiful stories about him, I really wish I had known him better. He touched so many lives and had the best attitude in the world. It is easy to see why my friend is such a wonderful person…because she had a wonderful dad. I was in tears, because I know the pain of losing a mom and my friend had already lost her mom and now her dad was gone too. But she does have two beautiful kids, a big sister, a step-mom and many other family members that love her. Plus she has a lot of friends, like me, that love her to death. She is hurting really bad right now, but with all the love and prayers her family and friends are giving her, she is going to make it through this.
You are probably wondering why we would go to a viewing or a funeral, for that matter, for a person we did not know that well. We did it for my friend, because I felt she needed our support through this. But I see now that God had some other reasons for us to be there. Events that would help other people and events that would help us. Things that showed me what the point of life was.
Last night my husband and I went to the funeral home for visitation. We got there before my friend did, so we waited awhile so we could see her. While we were waiting, some of her family arrived along with her step-mom. One of the women was older and sat off by herself and I could see she was holding back tears. I guess my mother’s spirit came down upon me, because I went over to this total stranger and started talking to her. That is not something I would normally do, but that is exactly what my mom had done many times. I could tell the woman was hurting and since she was around the age of Amanda’s dad, I was guessing this was his sister. So I asked her if she was related to Mr. Smith and she told me she was his sister. I told her that I was a friend of her niece. I asked her if there were any other siblings. She said that she had three older brothers, Amanda’s dad and one other brother had passed away, but she had one brother that lived in town and she lived up North.
As we talked and I asked her questions about her family, she started to smile. She told me that she had come to stay with her brother and sister-in-law, Amanda’s parents, for three months when Amanda’s mother was dying of breast cancer. She said that Amanda’s mom was her sister, not her sister-in-law…she loved her like a sister. She told me how my friend had broken down a few times in the last couple of days and how she worried about Amanda. She chuckled when she told me that when she was little, she would tell her brothers that they needed to be nice to her because she was the baby of the family. Now, she said, being the baby of the family doesn’t seem as great, in fact it really sucked, because she had to watch all of her family pass away. Boy, can I relate to that. I felt good about my conversation with Amanda’s aunt and I think she did too. She wasn’t as sad when she started to talk about he brother and family. I was glad I could leave her with a grin on her face, even if her eyes might have been moistened by tears.
Not long after, my friend arrived and we hugged and cried together. She thanked me for coming and I told her that I was there for her and that maybe her God-daughter would come to her one day too. (This is a joke between us, that her own God-daughter won’t go to her) That comment made her laugh and that was what I was hoping for. We spoke for a bit, until a woman and man walked into the funeral home. Amanda let out a gasp and went right to the woman and hugged her in a way I have never seen before. The only way I could describe it was that they were hanging on to each other like their life depended on it. My friend started sobbing uncontrollably and they just stood there for the longest time, crying together. I whispered to my husband, “This must be her older sister.” But no, I was wrong, we found out a minute later when Amanda brought her step-mom to the woman and she had the same reaction. After hugging the woman, Amanda’s step-mom explained that this was one of her husband’s night nurses at the hospital the last week of his life. It was the most amazing thing to witness and such an awesome testimony to my friend’s dad. This nurse, that only knew Mr. Smith briefly and was either going to work or getting off work, took a brief moment out of her life to pay her respects to a patient who had passed way. That simple act of kindness touched me so deeply. I wonder if that nurse realized how much her presence affected all of those that were in that funeral home that night. It made me realize that this is what God wants us all to do. To take time out of our lives to show compassion for others.
Today, my husband and I drove to a little chapel, way out in the middle of nowhere, for Mr. Smith’s funeral. It was a very touching funeral. My friend spoke about her father and I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the chapel. If there was, by the time her niece and her sister were finished speaking about their loved one, there definitely wasn’t a dry eye left. In that short period of time, I learned about this wonderful man who loved and cherished both of his wives, adored his daughters and grandkids and loved the Lord. It was during this time that I realized that I had been in contact with a very special man. I felt sad to know that I would not have a chance to know him any better, but thankful that he came into my life, even if it was briefly. His daughters and granddaughter’s tribute to him found me desiring to be like him and to bring those around me the joy that he shared with others. It made me want to be a better person. I realized then that I had come to this funeral out of concern for my friend, but I was leaving it a better person.
So here is the answer to my question, “What’s the Point?”. Life is too short, don’t waste it. We are all walking around in this world, wondering why we are here. What does God want us to do? Well, thanks to Mr. Smith and his family, I was reminded that God wants us to love one another. He wants us to help one another, even if it is a simple smile or joke to make someone laugh. That is what God wants us to do. Thank you Mr. Smith, for teaching me this valuable lesson and for bringing my friend Amanda into this world. I am a better person for knowing you both. Rest in peace, Mr. Smith…rest in peace! ♥