It was the day I had dreaded more than any other.
The day we buried my mom.
Somehow I had managed to get dressed and rote walk my way to the church for the funeral, flanked by my dearest relatives.
The “inner circle” of immediate family congregated in a private gathering space, waiting for other attendees to find seats before we would file down the aisle to the front rows. As we waited, the somber conversation turned to one of the last times we had all been gathered together in the same church — for my wedding, seven years earlier.
My two uncles, who positively crack me up every time we’re together, started in on a story I’d never heard from that day. They were due to drive me and my husband in my cousin’s convertible from the wedding ceremony to the reception. Just after the ceremony, my uncle managed to spill mustard on his tie! Being an auto parts dealer at his very core, he used nothing else but brake fluid to remove the stain!
At the church.
On my wedding day.
I knew nothing of any of this, until that afternoon as we sat waiting for my mom’s funeral to begin. Of course by that stage, we were all laughing, and kept laughing as my uncle concluded, “The stain came out … the only problem was the smell!”
I looked around the room, and it felt scandalous to wipe tears of laughter from the corner of my eyes. Just moments before a funeral.
My mother’s funeral.
Moments later, our pastor and lifelong friend corralled our thoughts toward the service. Just before we formed a procession to enter the sanctuary, he said, “Okay, here we go. And I want you to sing these songs with gusto! She would’ve wanted that!”
It was true.
My mom had a lot of time to think about her own funeral, and she had insisted that there be lots of singing.
She knew exactly where she was going when she died, and to her, that was reason to rejoice.
It sounded like a good idea, but there was just one minor problem: in my past experiences at funerals, the lump in my throat had grown so large I couldn’t even swallow, let alone get any sound to come out. How much more so during my own mother’s funeral.
But to my great surprise, the Lord again gave grace, and when the music started, I stood there in the front row, looked straight up at the huge wooden cross hanging in the front of our church, and I sang.
I even smiled while I sang.
It was a smile on a tear-stained face, and the tears are spilling over even now as I think about it — but it was a genuine smile, as I thought about the infinite joy my mom must be experiencing now, doing what she loved best for all eternity.
The story above ended up being included in my memoir,
Read the whole book here.
Lisa-Jo Baker and I chatted about this theme of how it’s possible for it to be “well with your soul” even in the midst of incredible sadness. It’s a topic that comes up as we discuss Chapter 5 of her book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom.
If you can’t see the video, click here.
This is Week 2 of Lisa-Jo’s online book club, and she’s got a great video chat with Christie Purifoy on Chapters 3 and 4 that you won’t want to miss, as well as discussion questions and some encouraging passages of Scripture, all right over here.
Related post: When You’re Going Through a Deep, Dark Valley
Grab a copy of Surprised by Motherhood here.
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For more on the story of how I lost my mom and how the Lord carried me through that season, read my memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging. Get free access to the first chapter below: