In Her Eyes

I walked into the funeral home.   I wasn’t there but fifteen or twenty minutes.

While I stood and waited to speak to my friend I was mesmerized by the people around me.

Smiling.  Laughing.  People.

I’ve often experienced this.  Walking into a somber building.  To the surprise and joy of hearing people celebrate a life.  I could hear stories being told.  I watched as young men were telling stories and gesturing, to include the man lying in repose.  Heads nodded.  Smiles were prompted and passed from person to person.  Everyone was talking to someone.  Someone was listening to everyone.

Each funeral home experience is different.  We never know what to expect.  The sorrow is always there.  The sadness.   The respect.  But we all have different ways of showing it.  Expressing it.  Living it.  And going through it.  I’ve walked into somber rooms full of hushed tones and sniffling.   And I’ve walked into exuberant sounds of celebration.  Combinations of both.  And variations of it all.

I stood, patiently, waiting to speak with my friend when she turned her head as she spoke with someone else and I could see her face.  Her eyes.  Her eyes were bright.  Clear.   And shining.

Soon it was my turn to speak with my friend.  We hugged. I never have words of value at this time.  Being present is all we can really do when there is such loss.

I don’t know how to express what I saw in her eyes as she told me how her years were spent fully and joyfully.  She was filled with gratitude.  Those eyes were looking at forty years of love and happiness.   And that’s what I was seeing.    I can’t do it justice.

Death shakes us.  We can’t avoid that.   But what death cannot do, is strip from us the value of a life we lived and shared with someone.  It cannot undo what we have done with our time here.   It is not able to steal what we have created and built.   It does not have that kind of power.  The value of who we are is protected and cherished and guarded.

I could see this, in her eyes.

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46 thoughts on “In Her Eyes

  1. Paul says:

    Indeed: “… store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.…”

  2. M. L. Kappa says:

    Lovely post! In Greece we have two things you can say to people at funerals instead of ‘condolences ‘. One is ‘May you have her (his) blessing’ and the other is ‘life to yourselves’ – I don’t know if I’ve translated them right, but I feel they convey the ‘life goes on’, celebratory side of things…

  3. ksbeth says:

    what a great observation, and a beautiful post. all so true.

  4. Jim McKeever says:

    What a beautiful and insightful perspective, Colleen.

  5. A beautiful post Colleen! Yes those memories live on!

  6. What a wonderful experience to be a part of a celebration of life such as that!

  7. You hugged! Brava. 🙂 And yes, simply being present (and willing to listen) is often much more meaningful than words. Well said/shared, Colleen.

  8. cindy says:

    lovely and so very true~

  9. lbeth1950 says:

    Being present says it all. I hope people remember me with joy.

  10. Making the time to make even a quiet appearance is comfort to family left behind.
    A wonderful post, Colleen. ❤ ❤ ❤

  11. Tanya Cliff says:

    “Being present is all we can really do when there is such loss.”

    Beautiful, Colleen! Being present is enough…

  12. Yes. Death can’t take that. Beautiful Colleen. Thanks for sharing your reflections. ❤
    Diana xo

  13. reocochran says:

    I liked that you saw into her eyes, knowing the depth and breadth of her shared experiences. No, they cannot be taken away or erased! Your hug and eye contact showed impact. I could feel this through your words, dear. ❤

  14. Often no words say the right thing perfectly. Warm embrace. This really moved me.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Live each day to the fullest with your loved ones and cherish every single moment!

  16. Father is 92. I am not looking forward to the day. But he has lived with me since 2002. We have had many days together.

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