Beloved friends, thank you so much for your prayers today. I have felt the peace that only God can bestow.
My Pippa died peacefully at home today at 11:30am. When I got here at 1:00, he was still warm and looked just like he was sleeping. I had the honor of sitting with him for about three hours until the funeral home came for his body. I sat across from my Neana on one side of his bed and held his hand – the hand that held mine all these years. I stroked his hair the way he would stroke mine as a child. I patted his bald head and it reminded me of a funny memory: When I was a child, he would take a quick after-lunch nap, and I would shuffle my feet across the carpet and give him a little shock of static electricity on his head. It woke him up but he always laughed. That time and that memory are blessings I will cherish for the rest of my life. Looking at his body, now just an empty shell, weathered and bruised by 86+ years of living, and knowing that now he is in heaven with Jesus, filled me with indescribable joy.
Another wonderful blessing I’ve discovered today is that not only can sadness and joy coexist, but joy outshines sadness. It doesn’t erase it completely, of course, but joy comes alive amongst the tears and alleviates despair by reminding us that the hope of heaven awaits us some day. I know that I will hug and hold and talk to my Pippa again some day, and he will hug me and hold me and talk back. The death of our human bodies is only a temporary separation of a love that will continue for all eternity when we meet again in heaven, and there is comfort in that.
My Pippa finished his work here on earth. He won the prize. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he heard the words we would all be so blessed to hear at the end of our lives: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
*the title of this post is taken from part of a sermon given by Henry Scott Holland in 1910. It is what my Pippa wanted included in his funeral bulletin. Here is the whole excerpt:
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you for an interval,
somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
***This was the sunset tonight as seen from the backyard of the house where my Pippa took his last breath. The house where he raised his family. The one constant home I’ve known. The circle of life is a beautiful thing.