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Saying goodbye to someone you love is difficult – never more so than at a funeral, when we are saying it to someone we will never again see in the flesh. But saying goodbye is an important part of the grieving process. God has other things in store for us, and we must embrace them – without our dearly departed ones.

I strongly disagree with parents who keep their children from attending funerals. I suspect that oftentimes it is not the children but rather the parents who are having trouble coping with death – probably because they didn’t attend enough funerals as children themselves. Solomon described the various stages of life as all having “an appointed time” – “A time to give birth and a time to die; … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a tie to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). We must all learn about death eventually; we might as well start early.

My fondest memory of my grandfather’s funeral is walking with my little cousins through the cemetery and looking at headstones. We saw where Pawpaw’s body would be placed – next to Mimmee, who had preceded him. We talked about how our spirits leave our bodies when we die, and how they will go to heaven if we believe in God and live the right kind of life (Hebrews 11:6). We talked about how funerals help us remember all the great lessons good men like Pawpaw taught us, and all the good times we had working in his garden and tending his cattle.

God keeps the spirit, the ground keeps the body, and we keep the memories. If we can’t keep all three for ourselves, I think that’s a pretty fair bargain.

Article by Hal Hammons.

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