I went to a funeral yesterday for a dear friend of mine. I went with my husband and with some friends. The weekend before I spent the weekend with those same friends while my husband was out of town. I needed time to talk about the friend who died with people who knew her, who loved her, who missed her just as much as I did, and who were hurting like me. I needed to be around people who weren’t going to ask me how she died, what was the motive, or drill into other details that hurt to bring up, that brought up feelings of hatred and anger that I was trying so hard to be rid of. I was and am so ready to be on this road of forgiveness and healing.
Getting out of the car and giving hugs to my friends this weekend, we naturally asked, “How are you doing?” With tears in their eyes and a sad sad half smile they both said, “I’m okay”.
There was easily probably 500 people at the funeral yesterday. It was a funeral for both my friend and her dad who were tragically killed far too soon. Every person I ran into from college we asked each other, “How are you?” and without fail, everyone said, “I’m good! How are you?” But we all made the drive or took of the day from work to mourn the loss of a friend or coworker. We all sat there with tears in our eyes and broken hearts. We all shared the same feelings of hurt and anger. Yet we all chose to say, “I’m good.” There was no honesty in our “I’m good”s. Even when we all knew exactly how the other person was we chose to lie and say we were good. Part of me thinks it was probably for the best. We all understood we were trying to keep it together. We all understood that no one was doing good. But then I think, even in the midst of something that brought us all together, where everyone there knows how we are all doing, we chose to not be honest where we should be able to be the most honest.
The only joy at that funeral was knowing my friend and her dad were at peace. They weren’t hurting. They weren’t sad. They are getting to be filled with joy praising and glorifying our God in heaven. We are the ones who are hurting, who are having to — needing to— cling to the cross, to the Gospel to make it through the service. We are the ones having to remind ourselves that “His mercies are new every morning”. Yet we all chose to do the polite thing and say, “I’m doing good”.
There’s a lot that we could all take away from the funeral service. My friend and her dad were some of the most giving, loving, and loyal people there were. My friend did not open up to people easily. She’d help anyone, but to get to know her— really get to know her— you’d be a special person for her to let you. I can’t say that I knew her best. But I did have this one moment with her my senior year of college— we were in her car, she dropped me off at my apartment. I was venting to her about my frustrations for planning my wedding and how I didn’t really want to plan it, and just such petty things. She gave me some wonderful wisdom. She didn’t seem annoyed that I was complaining about something so stupid. She just spoke wisdom. We continued to talk and she cried in front of me. She didn’t cry in front of people. I don’t think other than that point I’d ever seen her cry. But she did. And she told me, “You’re going to be someone I really miss when you graduate.” And she told me about her hurt for her brother being gone.
And it was in that moment that I knew I was getting the real her. That I’d crossed that line of being one of her little minion friends from work to being her real friend. She taught me to choose my friends wisely. But with those friends, it’s okay to be real, honest, and open. Love them deeply. Put others before yourself.
Miss you so much.