Friday, April 13, 2007

A Daisy for Laura

When my dad died, I was fifteen years old, and his was the first funeral I'd ever attended. At the very end, when we were ready to leave the cemetery, his friend Les went over to the flowers and picked out a big red rose and put it in his buttonhole. Obviously, I never have forgotten.
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When I go to a funeral or help with one at church, I generally take a flower out of one of the arrangements at the very end. I bring it home and put it on my kitchen counter for as long as it lasts.
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Today was the memorial service for Laura, a wonderful woman from our church who has struggled with breast cancer for sixteen years. Her mother is a member of my circle and of my hand-quilting group; she has been a friend for twenty-five years.
. . . .
I think I mentioned before that our pastor of 31 years left our congregation this winter to accept a call to another church. I think I also mentioned before how highly I regard the woman who is serving as our interim pastor. By the time she came on board, the speech center of Laura's brain had been taken over by metastasized tumors. Pastor has been so faithful in her care of this family, but when Laura passed away on Tuesday, they asked if the sermon could be given by someone who had really known her. She graciously agreed, and my name was proposed.
. . . .
The service was very beautiful. Laura's niece, who has a charming voice, sang, and other members of the family handled the readings and the eulogy. I was surprisingly comfortable this morning, before and during the service. I felt good about the sermon, and was able to deliver it without a voice crack until very close to the end.
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While her life was cut way too short -- she was 46 years old -- her suffering went on far too long. There is some comfort in knowing that she is at peace. There's a bit of an air of defiance about this Gerber daisy that will this week remind me of a brave and kind and lovely woman, one who was determined that cancer not get the best of her.

5 comments:

Ms. Jan said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, and your friend's loss of her daughter. I know you did a fabulous job and the family will never forget. xoxoxoxo

Shelina said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You did a wonderful job.

When my nieces grandfather passed away, I took a couple of flowers and gave them to my nieces. I thought he would want them to have a little something to ease the pain. I hadn't heard of others doing that, but now I don't feel so bad!

dot said...

I am sorry to read about the loss. What an honor to give the sermon. I don't know if I could do such a task, but then again God always sees us throw whatever task He asks of us. I will pray for you and the family of Laura.

Pam said...

It is so sad when someone who should have so many more years to live is taken too soon, and has to suffer for so many years. I am so sorry for her family.

So nice for you to be able to give the sermon. Enjoy the daisy

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I missed this post until today, you are a huge blessing to this family! You're right about that Gerber, it has an air of defiance... I hope it continues to bring you comfort as you remember your dear friend.