Preaching An "I Miss You."
Every one’s eyes in the room were looking at me for the answer.
I wasn’t sure I had heard the question.
The last two days had been such a blur, I would often stare into space thinking I would awaken in a few moments and I would have only been dreaming. I often would pray that I was.
The funeral director was taking notes and we had come to the part of the meeting where we had to decide who was going to “officiate” my brother’s funeral.
I heard the words and then couldn’t believe I had said them. Did I really think I could preach, officiate or even stand up during my baby brother’s goodbye ceremony? But I had been thinking and praying about it a lot.
I had a number of people who would have gladly preached. We live in Oklahoma for crying out loud. I could have walked out of the front door of that funeral home and hit a pastor with a rock if I had wanted. There were at least four pastor’s cell phone numbers in my purse.
But if we were all going to be gathered on a Saturday for an event no one wanted to be there for, let’s not choose someone who my brother had never even met. If saying “see you soon” to the only baby brother I’d ever have was going to be the order of that day, I owed it to him as his big sister to do it myself. I couldn’t think of another way.
The air must have escaped out of the room, because for a moment time stood still.
Mike, the funeral director, tried to reason with me.
“Have you thought about how hard this is going to be?”
Did he know how hard it was knowing that my life as forever broken into two places: life with my brother and life without him?
A bad highlight reel had been playing in my head about the funerals I had attended where afterwards, I felt as though I knew the deceased less after hearing the same old hymns and dismal words said over a casket. If this were good night, it was going to be one of which my brother would have been honored to have played a part.
“I do. And I don’t know that I can pull it off, but I have to try.”
As we drove home, my sister looked at me through tears and said “If we have to do this, then we have to do it together. I’ll be in charge of his graveside service.”
I’m not sure what Laura and I said that Saturday afternoon. I know we both made it. Before I got up in front of that church, The Hero squeezed my hand and said “you’ve got this. You can do it. It’s not goodbye; only ‘see ya soon’.”
My baby brother was so felt and present that day that Mike pulled Laura and I both aside afterwards and thanked us for letting him be a part of a funeral that was honorable and fitting for the “I miss yous” we were making.
And I guess that’s a song my heart will sing for now until my last day because some days there are no other words than “I miss you.”