I listened to the words of a dying mother. Then I sat down and wrote my own eulogy.
This is not plan A.
This is NOBODIES plan A.
I have things to do.
I HAVE things to DO.
I had things to do.
I didn’t expect to die.
I have too much to do.
I have babies to rock and when they are grown I will still be rocking them in my heart – praying for them, loving them. Perhaps when they are grown I will travel, work in orphanages and such to rock other people’s babies. Perhaps I will have some other adventure in store for me. But at this moment, I do not expect to die. I have too much to do. If Jesus delays His coming until I am very old I shall be sitting in my chair, looking at the pictures of my babies. I shall be still rocking them in my heart, praying for them and loving them well past my first century of life. I shall be puttering with my plants, stroking my animals, I shall be reading and thinking and writing and blogging, well past my 150th birthday. That’s the plan anyway, my plan.
You see, death and illness is not natural.
It is not right in the way of things.
It is abhorrent and wrong and we should never pretend different.
We pretend sometimes. We say “oh well, he had a good innings” when we hear of the death of someone aged in their nineties. We say “it is not THAT bad” when we see the death rates of swine flu. We forget the faces and statistics of the latest far-off civil war before we flip off the TV.
But when it is close, we can no longer pretend.
Even when death is a relief of sorts, after a long and drawn out illness and it brings a close to agony and suffering it still feels wrong.
There is still a hole, a vacuum, a black hole in our hearts when we give that last kiss goodbye.
When we try to bring comfort to a bereft husband, daughter, grandson, feeling about as effective as a butterfly beating against a window, we know it is wrong.
You sitting here today, you who loved and knew me, you know this is wrong.
I know it is usual, for a eulogy, to speak about the type of person the “deceased” was. To share funny anecdotes and heart rending stories. But the fact that I wrote this should have clued you into the fact that this is not a usual eulogy.
I have important things to say, and I am using this as a time to say it.
This is me, refusing to go gentle into that good night.
My hands have been stilled, dear ones. I can’t do this anymore. For some, unplanned, WRONG, reason, I am paused. Paused, while you go on without me.
There is a list of things I need you to do for me.
Take care of him, please. Pray for him every day. Speak kind and soft words to him often, even years and years from this day. There is now a hole inside him and I love him and the thought of him being without me hurts so badly to think about I can hardly type. He has a big job. Several big jobs. Give him whatever help you can, whatever love you can, whatever kindness you can. Even at moments he seems undeserving, or surly, or less than perfect, especially then, love him so fiercely that he can’t help but be the good man that I know he is. This was supposed to be my job and I can no longer do it. Please, do it for me.
At the moment that I am typing this, I am completely expecting and totally planning to be bouncing my grandbabies on my knee. The fact that this is being read out means that I will not bounce, or even see, my grandbabies. Such a thing is unfathomable to me, but it is none the less possible. My job as a Mum can be boiled down and refined to two most important things. The first is to pray for them. Every. Single. Day. The second is to love them. Every day. When they are lovable, and especially when they are not. I am not here to do this anymore. I need you to close the gap. I know that my Good God would not have let this happen if He could not provide for my babies. Perhaps it is you that He will use to fill this gap. If you can do nothing else, please, pray for them. I can’t ask you for anything else for them. The thought of them being without me shuts me down completely.
I am standing on the cusp of the realization that one day she may actually need me to take care of her. One day, she may need me. One day she may no longer be the indestructible, stubborn woman that I think I sometimes know and always, always love. Gather around her. Love her. Honor her for me. Treat her with respect. Make sure her socks match. Make sure her food is colorful and well presented. Listen to her, completely and without reservation. And pray, please, every day, for her. These are my jobs, please see that they are done.
Help me rage against the dying of the light.
Help me to love them even now.
Lastly, meet me.
I am paused. My body has died and you can no longer see, hear, touch or smell me. Perhaps we never even got a chance to say good bye. I have been presumptuous enough to ask you to help me to rage against the dying of this night. Allow me one more presumption. Allow me to ask you to meet me in the morning.
The real reason I have hijacked my own eulogy, is that I have only once recognised the person I have heard described in a eulogy. There is a tendency to polish up a person. To present a shiny saint, free of serious flaw. I need a true story here. I need you to remember me and remember that I ain’t shiny. I need you to tell my children who I really was. I need you to realize who I really was.
I need you to see my flaws.
Not the she-messes-up-every-now-and-then-but-she’s-really-very-nice flaws.
The real ones.
Let’s be honest.
I almost – I did – destroy my marriage. It arose from the ashes like a phoenix purely by God’s grace.
It is not in my nature to love the unlovely – less so to love those who are supposed to love me when they are unlovely. It is my nature to tear them down. As I write this, God is changing me. I am finding love in me – sometimes – even for the unlovely. Only because I know that this is what He does for Me.
It is in my nature to judge, scorn, scoff, use sarcasm and words like lethal weapons.
It is in my nature to be a smarty pants, to be self involved.
It is in my nature to be lazy and neglect the practical every day things that need doing in favour of indulgences.
If you do not understand this, if you do not see me for who I really am – was – am, you will not be able to see through me.
If you can’t see through me then I can’t show you Him.
I can’t show you Jesus.
All that is good that you saw in me came from Jesus, I promise you this.
I write from my heart as this is my last platform to tell you, to cry out to you, please, meet me.
Meet me in the morning after this good-night that I so rage against even now.
Stand with me in the dawn and see what I was made to be. See me made perfect and complete. And you will realize that all that is good in me that you have seen is barely a shadow of what I was supposed to be.
Let me speak to each of you individually for a moment.
My friend, my love, I see through you. While there are things that I love about you, there are things about you that I see that aren’t right. There are things about you that hurt you. Many of you, there are things about you that have hurt me. I tell you this, only so you will realize your need. This is my last ditch effort to say, Jesus loves you even when you are unlovely. Please, go to Him and learn what He can do for you so I can see you in the morning – in the dawn after this night.
Because if I can love you this much now, when you are so unlovely, I can’t wait to meet you on the other side, when you are made perfect.
This death is not the end – it is To Be Continued…