The post below originally appeared on Glenn's Facebook page
I went to a funeral for a friend's mom today. I had only met her a couple of times and I only know a few members of the family. But my friend and his wife are two of the best people and Christians I know.
They love others and really care about me and my family.
I sat in the pew today and was overwhelmed with a few things. First, I found myself crying hard as the casket came in and we sang the first hymn. I didn't understand it right away and then it dawned on me.
We didn't have a funeral, wake or even a memorial for my father last year. He died, we left the hospital and that was it. (His wishes). He wanted to be cremated and his ashes scattered but his wife has them and she will not do it yet, nor do I think we would be invited. (Long and tragic story).
I hadn't really closed the door on my father yet. It hit me pretty hard. I then saw my friend and his wonderful family speak about their mother. She had a great and full life even if it was deeply painful. He is older than I. I wondered what it would be like to have a mother until you were my age or older.
I listened to the talks given. The lessons learned and how this one great lady held the family together and put their feet on the right path. They are who they are in many ways thanks to her strength and guidance. I respect and love my friend so much and much of it really is because of her.
Such joy and they are blessed because they know it and knew it long before her death.
My thoughts drifted to my family. My sisters and step brother. My grandparents on both sides. The dysfunction, the horrid memories, lost memories and tried to be lost memories. How far away from one another we are. How disconnected. How my childhood has shaped how I interact with them, my own children and even my friends.
How I have learned to "go it alone". Not to depend on anyone because "in the end, you can really only depend on you". Such lies. All of the missed opportunities, the missed joy, tears of laughter and how empty my fathers funeral would have been had he wanted one.
My pain grew to epic proportions. Not surprising I guess. I asked my son to sit on my lap. He helps me with my pain. As we held each other I thanked God for him and for a good woman, his mother, who will be remembered by him just as my friends mom was remembered today.
I whispered in his ear: "you are growing so fast, it won't be much longer that you will be able to sit on my lap." He whispered back as a ten year old twinkle in his eye beamed: "you should enjoy every second of it while you can.". I smiled back as I thought how true. Then I whispered: "you will have many more years yet ahead of you to miss this than I do. You should enjoy it as well."
He buried his face in my chest and squeezed me just a little bit tighter for a second.
Being a dad is a very hard thing. Being a human is hard enough. So many regrets that if you don't let go, will drag you down as they seem to get heavier as the years compile.
The atonement is needed every day. He forgives but until we forget, our acceptance of His gift isn't complete.
Though sometimes it seems by not knowing how to change ourselves we can't get past our past. I know that I want to laugh and play or even talk to my children about nothing, it is just that I honestly don't know how. How do you let a conversation just meander? I know this sounds silly, but after fifty years of "get to the point there is much to do", I am not good at meandering with family.
I envy those who are.
I am not my father, I am not the man I was ten, 15 or 20 years ago. I am a good father, just not always the one my children deserve. But I am getting better every year and honestly it is a two way street. We all have a lot to learn and we all play our own role.
Funerals begin to remind you that the years slip by quickly.
I began to think that Tania's parents are now the patriarch and matriarch of the family, then it will be us. What is it like when you are the old tree and everyone else is the acorn? What is it like when all of your childhood friends begin to die?
I am glad I have the Gospel.
Mormon funerals are really not sad. We really believe the gospel. We know our families will be together again. My friend knew there was a celebration of the family on the other side and God was weeping for us and not her.
She is in her Fathers arms once again and until I am there, I get to be here where my children are in their father's arms for just a little bit longer.
Amen and amen.