HomeDecember 2013Sharing Sadness

Sharing Sadness

Unfortunately, this week I attended the memorial service of a fellow congregant.  It wasn’t the first funeral for us this year, but it was the only one of a person in our generation, a husband and father of two kids hardly older than ours.  It is always difficult to accept the death of someone so young, taken in the prime of his life.  It hits closer to home and reminds us of how precious life can be.
As I sat there during this service, remembering our friend and feeling pain for his family, several things had an impact on me that I wish to impart to my children in the hopes that they will take them to heart and that it will make a difference in their lives.  Hopefully sharing them this way will have an impact upon you as well.
First, one of the speakers giving a eulogy was the decedent’s daughter, a freshman in college.  As difficult as it was to speak publicly during the most difficult time of her life, she spoke from the heart and shared stories about her dad that made us smile and gave us insight into the person that he was.  She had to stop frequently to compose herself, but she got through it and it was very touching and admirable.
I, too, spoke at my father’s funeral when I was in my twenties.  While it was the hardest thing I had ever had to do, to this day I am so glad that I chose to do it.  The lesson from this that I would like to impart to my children is that they should not shy away from doing something that seems insurmountably difficult and persevere through something that is incredibly hard to do.
Second, during the daughter’s eulogy, her brother, four years her senior, was standing next to her waiting his turn to speak.  When his sister broke down crying a few times and needed to compose herself, I noticed him putting his arm around her, patting her shoulder, rubbing her back and showing her that he was there for her.  It was very touching, and those gestures alone showed that he will be there for her in all aspects of their lives.  I don’t know them well enough to know if it was these tragic circumstances that brought them closer together or if this has been the general nature of their relationship, but, as I watched, I pictured my own children up there in a similar situation and hoped that they would be as loving and supportive of one another.  I want to remind my own children that they share a very special bond as siblings.  They need to support and love one another and stand up for each other, not just during a bad or difficult time, but also during the good times and regular life as well.
Third, what I learned of the decedent during this service was so impressive.  In the face of the diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease, he immediately began to fight, not just to try to combat his disease physically, but to raise money and awareness for a cure.  Throughout the last year of his advancing illness, he refused to let the disease take away his entire life and did not sit back and accept defeat.  Instead, he tried to live life to the fullest and spent time with his family and friends, going places and doing things until he just physically could not do so anymore.  We can all remember that if we are ever faced with similar adversity, we should fight and persevere and live our lives to the fullest, trying to enjoy each and every day.  We have been fortunate not to have had to deal with a serious illness, but if we are, I would hope that we would be able to fight with the strength, dignity and courage that he exhibited.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Griffin family during this unimaginably difficult time.  May Reid’s memory be for a blessing.  His strength and character and that of his children made an impact on our lives and, hopefully, through this article, on those of others as well.


  1. Good Morning Barbara,

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this article. I am so proud of Marty and Mackenzie and I know they will take good care of each other. I was so fortunate to be married to Reid. He was an amazing human being who I am missing so very much. God Bless you and your family.


    Rosanne, Marty and Mackenzie Griffin


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