Saturday, March 07, 2009

Funeral For A Good Man.

Friday was the day of the funeral. It was the funeral for a man who had just turned 47, a man who was our neighbor--the great family who lived across the street from us, when we lived in our first house--in Suwanee(South Forsyth County), Georgia. James B.(affectionately known as "J.B." to his long-time pals)had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, only a few months ago. He went into a coma on Tuesday, only hours before he passed.

I spoke to my lovely niece, Breaz, by phone on Thursday night, and told her what I thought about the fact that I had a funeral to attend, the very next day.
I told her that "At twenty years old, we think a 'big life, a great life,'is when someone is wealthy, or has great fame, or is someone working to cure cancer, or something else 'big'."
But I told her that as I've grown, and become older, I believe having a big life means being the devoted husband, the wonderful, loving father, the kind son. "These are things that are not easy to do; to be this requires care, and love, and genuine goodness."
James B. had a lot of people in his life who obviously felt as I felt. The funeral home was packed with men from his softball team, close friends he played golf with, or hunted with, or fished with, folks from a nearby church that loved him dearly, clients and colleagues from his many many years in the auto-sales business, and many neighbors, and like us, former neighbors. The family had assembled a video that displayed images of James engaged in various activities, or holding his boys close--James has two great human boys, Cort and Grant, and two non-human(Black Labs), Remy and Chester. He also has a deeply committed wife, Janet, who fell in love with him when they were both teenagers. Classic high-school romance. Except this one lasted. For 27 years.
I grew close to his wife, Janet, as I began a journey in 2003 towards renewed faith in God. She and I began speaking about philosophical issues, life, and faith just after 9/11. Years later, when I visited their church, I noticed she & James held hands during the service. I remember thinking how touching that was, that sense of connection to each other, and to their God, at that moment. I longed for that connection with my own partner.
James never sought attention or fame for himself. He sought the company of good people--hard-working, decent folks who are happy to have a good job to go to in the mornings, are excited to discuss sports, appreciate a good businessman, and share faith in a loving God. James' life was a big life, a huge life, filled with the friendships of those who came to mourn him, but more--to remember and celebrate his life.
Towards the end of the service, I could see tears forming in my husband Hansoo's eyes. I reached for his hand, and a moment later, the pastor asked us all to pray, and in that instant, I could feel the Presence of that which we call God.
Here's to Grace and Peace and Blessings for his wonderful family.
Peace, kids.


Dan said...

Thanks for sharing this post, Lisa. This world could use a lot more of J.B's in it.

Lisa Allender said...

Dan--Thanks for your kind words.

Selma said...

Saying that he had a 'big life' has really touched me. There is so much in our day-to-day life that is wonderful - we don't need fame and fortune to have really lived. I am sorry you have lost such an amazing friend. I am sure he is now at peace.

Marianna said...

Hello Lisa...

may he rest in peace and you live long to honor his memory. Να ζήσεις να τον θυμάσαι...(just something we say in Greece).

It is true what you say about the important things in life. Sometimes I wish we could remember them in our everyday life and not just in our sad times. For me your post is a good start...

Take care now
peace and love

Lisa Allender said...

Selma--Hi, thank you, dear one!
Marianna--Hi, what a great saying you all have. Bless You for saying it to me!

Georg said...

You are a gifted writer, Lisa, a pleasure to read. This makes good reading though or the more so as the subject is everyday life.


Lisa Allender said...

Georg, Why thank you,honey!("honey" is an affectionate term used by some of us in the Southern U.S.A.)

raccoonlover1963 said...

Hi Lisa
Very sorry to hear of the passing of your friend. I recently lost my mother to cancer, one week before Christmas. It made the holiday very difficult. It's good to have such friends, as they are few and far between. You must cherish them while you can.
Take care.

Lisa Allender said...

Hi Racoonlover, So sorry to hear about your mother!
We are all fortunate to have had beloved family and friends here for us. Again, I'm so sorry for your recent loss.
Thank you for visiting--I'll stop in at your Lisa's Spot again soon!Your photography is a true gift!

WeezieLou said...

what a wonderful man he must have been, to deserve such kind and eloquent words. in the past 18 months, i've lost both parents, my pastor, and, recently, the near-death of my 25-yr spouse (she lived, but it could recur anytime). a steam roller - but it's left me with heightened awareness of how all any of us have is this exact moment.

Lisa Allender said...

Weezie-Lou, Welcome.
I'm so sorry for all your loss. Both your parents, and your pastor? Good gracious! And your spouse critically ill? My prayers and warmest wishes are here for you.
Peace & Many Blessings.
Please come visit again.