Yesterday we attended a Memorial Service for my friend’s Dad. It was a small, sweet gathering of some of his closest friends and the family held in the front yard of his home. The home he helped raise my friend in and the home his wife had been raised in.
When I told the kiddos that they were headed to Grandma’s before I went to the service I got flack from both of them. Unbeknownst to me, they had already decided they would be going for their friend, my friend’s son. Just about broke my heart hearing my kiddos make that kind of a grown up decision. Proud that they think that way and saddened that they had a situation that called for it.
We traveled through the local Amish country to arrive at the house nestled in trees and set back off the road. Chairs were set in rows in the side driveway that leads to his garage. I’m told he spent many a nights working with his hands in that garage. He was a skilled concrete worker and, I think, a carpenter, and made many things for around the house.
As my kids helped their friend direct cars to park in the neighbor’s driveway, I watched in awe as her Amish neighbors brought container after container of food into the house. The Dad of the Family had noticed we may need more seating and returned with homemade benches from his home for mourners to sit on. I envied the selflessness of this family and know their communities are raised this way. I wished we all would take a lesson.
As the service began it was an overcast afternoon, a chilly 50 degrees. I sat with my kiddos, one on my lap one holding my hand, and listened to scripture readings and poems and notes read by Family. Both my friend and his son spoke and they showed such courage. We were proud of them.
What took my breath away, though, was my Friend’s cousin. She hosted the service and in her closing she read his widow’s letter to him and then…
She belted out Amazing Grace with the voice of angels. The echo among the trees, the soft start of her singing, increasing as she endured, the silence of the family and friends listening with their hearts. When I thought I couldn’t possibly have any more goosebumps on my arms, it began to drizzle. Ever so softly raindrop after raindrop slowly fell on us. No one spoke. No one moved. Except…
the Bald Eagle gliding quietly above us.