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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