Welcome Home Emily

Today I celebrated the passing of a life. Emily Hanwell, age 95, died, alone, in her home. She had lived through two world wars, the sinking of the Titanic, the advent of television, and four monarchs. She was survived by two sons - both no longer living in the area. Emily died in her bed. The coroner listed her cause of death, as ‘suspected natural causes.’ It was the best the coroner could offer. Emily had been dead for several weeks before her body was discovered. Nature had followed God’s mandate and there was little of her mortal remains left.

I spoke with one of her sons. He had already been made aware of her death. He told me that he was too busy to attend her funeral, but he was sure that his other brother would ‘try to do something.’ He said his mother had become difficult to deal with and it was a ‘blessing’ that it was all over. I asked him when it was that he had last spoken with her. He said he had spoken to her on Christmas Day ‘when she had called him.’

When I arrived at the funeral directors, I discovered there were no flowers. There had been no calls about Emily. Her coffin was of the ‘particulate variety,’ a euphemism for cheap board, with colourless plastic handles, which was all the government would pay for.

And so we headed to the chapel at the crematory. In Britain the pallbearers are the professional staff of the funeral director. There was no one there to receive Emily. And it was impossible not to have tears well in my own eyes to see this pitiful coffin lifted up and placed upon the catafalque, with no one there to mourn her loss or celebrate her passing. And I had to wonder what the last days of her life were like.

One of the greatest fears that a human being can experience is the fear of being abandoned by family and friends and being left to live one’s life all alone. Prison guards know this when they place recalcitrant inmates in solitary confinement and torturers know it too when they need their victims to confess to fictitious crimes.

To be cut off from human contact is immensely painful, but it pales when compared to being cut off from God. And yet that is the daily experience of too many of God’s children, wandering about this earth with no sense of any larger purpose or destiny and no vision beyond the blank wall of death. What a tragedy, and how unnecessary it is!

Jesus long ago spoke for us all when He said, ‘I can never be alone; the Father is with Me.’ He is with us, within us, always — healing, comforting, strengthening, enlightening, encouraging, and guiding. He is with us always, and we’ll never be alone — not in the deepest cell or on the darkest night.

Emily, I know that today, as God opened His arms to receive you, the angels danced.
Our Heavenly Father, we know that every life is precious. Help us to see the value in everyone we meet. We pray for Your guidance and we pray for Your Blessings to lead us to those who are alone, or frightened, or lonely, so that we may share the message of Your love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen

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At 18:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i loved this


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