Tasting Heaven While Dressed in Funeral Clothes

I laid out my dress, chosen with her in mind, searched through my drawers to find the elusive pair of black hose without a run, fastened the silver beaded necklace, slipped on the bracelet Marlene made for me, and smoothed the make up over my tear stained face. He pulled his suit from the closet and hung it on the door as we readied ourselves.

Funeral clothes. Everyone who loved her was laying them out at the same time in their various homes, getting ready to say goodbye. Tears mixing with water droplets falling from the shower head. A ritual that becomes more familiar with the passing of time. Laying out the funeral clothes.

The scent of yellow roses wafted throughout the sanctuary and draped her casket. I nodded in the direction of her zebra print top and stepped onto the stage for the sound check. She always inspired me to rise to the occasion and do the next thing. “Lord, help me be able to do that now…help us.” After adjusting his guitar strap, I sang a couple verses, breathing in the flowers and letting the song carry us. His peace was there.

The whisper…”Just cling to Me…I will carry you…I will meet you there”.

I nodded, knowing He would.

The joy of her heart, three years old with the blondest hair I’ve ever seen and the bluest eyes, stole my heart in one second as he clutched his big Floppy pony. He danced to show what Grandma Dinah was doing in heaven, and made the tear stained faces smile. He stood by his Grandpa and folded his hands as he leaned into his mama. Pieces of her living on in him…in all of us.

We bowed our heads, we took the stage, and sang our songs. I thought of how she always inspired me to rise to the occasion. Even though I was being carried, I was grateful that He met me there so that I could honor her. We listened to the memories of her, and I clung to him. There’s nothing more beautiful than the testimony of the life of one who loved the Lord and served Him with all of her heart. Precious. Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His servants. Precious. Because death here means new life there.

Heels clicking on pavement and a sea of black suits made the procession. Driving through puddles in our funeral clothes, snow melting into mud. Heels sinking into the soft earth and gentlemen hands helping ladies over the puddles. Black suits huddled beside the grave adorned in our funeral clothes, breathing in yellow roses under a tent, February winds swirling around. Quiet weeping and scripture reading, heads bowed in prayer, hearts honoring a woman dearly loved. Her blond legacy beautiful, sitting in a row…saying goodbye, beginning the missing. Full of the grace and beauty she leaves behind.

She knows how I feel about the grave and visiting the cemetery. She knows I’d rather focus on heaven, and she always agreed. Still, we stopped to lay one of her yellow roses on their grave, just a couple spots over, clinging to one another as if it were yesterday that we stood in this spot saying different goodbyes with the much younger looking tear stained faces. We walked away from the graves, heels sinking in the mud.

I’m always saying the only thing you can take with you to heaven is other people. If in heaven our riches are based on how many we take with us by showing the love of Jesus during our time on this earth, then our Dinah is a very rich woman. She touched so many lives in such a profound way…

A funny thing happened…an amazing, miraculous thing. Dinah loved everyone in her life with all that was in her and she talked about each of us to the others. She described the people she loved in such detail that when we met face to face today in the place we came to honor one we love in our funeral clothes, we felt as if we knew each other. In heaven, scripture tells us that “we will know one another as we are known”. I tasted that today.

Let me preface this by saying that I have an absolutely terrible memory. I am always forgetting names and everything else. But, today, many times I would see a someone Dinah loved…a person I had never met or seen before, but I knew their names. I would say “Are you so-and-so?” And, they were the person that Dinah had told me all about. Each one knew me right back. It was as if we all knew each other and were connected by her love. That must be a taste of what heaven is like…knowing one another…connected by His love. It was a special gift. And, truly a beautiful celebration. Except for all the black and the tears, she would have loved it. She would have loved all the people she loved gathered together and knowing one another as we are known…no doubt she did.

Comments

  1. Kristin says:

    Oh, I just love how you told that you all knew each other, just like what Heaven must be like. I felt that way the 2nd time I went to our church, and everyone knew my name. That meant so much to me. I can't wait to get to Heaven and experience that kind of fellowship. I can't even begin to imagine how amazing that will be! On a different note, I can never smell fresh flowers now without being reminded of a funeral. :( I'm so glad Dinah had a wonderful celebration of her life. I will still be praying for you and for her family.

  2. Caroline says:

    What a beautiful post and such a nice way to honor your friend. I can't wait for Heaven. Praying for you & her family in the days to come.
    {{HUGS}}

  3. Debby@Just Breathe says:

    Kelly, you have the most beautiful gift for writing. The words just flow together in harmony. Absolutely touching post. ((HUGS))

  4. Trisha Larson says:

    You made me feel like I was there too! I'm sorry. So sorry.

    Hugs,
    Trisha

  5. ((HUGS)) Such beautiful words.

  6. I bet Heaven is like that and it makes me smile. Im bad with names so I'll be glad to know everyone in Heaven. :)

    I'm sure it was a tough day for a lot of people. ((Hug))

  7. Jennifer Ross says:

    Okay, you got me……. I'm sitting here trying to keep the tears in my eyes and sniffling so I don't have to get up and go get a Kleenex. I'm about all teared-out after all of your posts I'm catching up on!! LOL

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