STORIES FOR THOSE WHO MOURN

Personal memories can salve death's sting.

When my wife's Grandpa McDowell died, we drove from Iowa to Michigan for his funeral. The family had asked if I wanted to preach the message, but deciding I was too close to the situation, I declined. After all, I needed comforting, too. The McDowells had no church affiliation, so the funeral director recommended a minister in the area to officiate.

At the funeral, the speaker eulogized my wife's grandpa in four minutes. He mentioned grandpa's name only once in passing and read a "canned" prayer from a booklet. He certainly didn't know Grandpa McDowell; that much was obvious.

As the family, we felt hollow, empty, cheated. Following the service, we gravitated toward the casket. My wife's eyes portrayed an agony I had never seen before. Her eyes begged me to do something, anything.

I breathed a silent prayer and asked the family to gather in a circle. As we stood, arms intertwined in front of the casket, I spoke of Grandpa and what he meant to me. I mentioned the whitetail deer he shot out ...

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