This is my first time as a principal in a visit to a funeral director. Her name is Natasha; she’s good at what she does, and things went well. Well, there was this one hiccup.
And it was me.
I should rename this blog. Let’s go ahead and call it “Hindsight is 20/20.” As soon as I uttered the words, I wanted to scramble around her marble-laden office, pick them up and choke them back down:
“At our church, I do something like what you do.”
I know, right? As if baking cookies, typing programs, and writing eulogies makes me a bona fide mortician? Ahem. Well, in my defense, I do tend to square away somebody if they’re being a stiff.
I’ve been helping with memorial services for nearly two decades—but this particular place will permanently permeate my paradigm. The eye-opener here is that, when celebrating someone’s life, there’s no room for being formulaic.
This week, I’ll tackle my most challenging writing assignment ever: my mother-in-law is no longer here—but I will be introducing her. To further complicate things, I never knew her. By the time David and I were married, this lady had already taken down her shingle, so to speak. The Effie I knew was kind of a blank slate—and I made the horrendous mistake of thinking that’s all there was to Effie.
I was wrong.
Yesterday I confessed to my pastor that I had honored my mother-in-law, but because David never had told me what she was really about, I did not have enough respect for her. I started crying. Pastor lightened the moment flawlessly: he took my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, “Laura. We men are wretched when it comes to communicating. I apologize for our species.”
So my work is cut out for me. In the last couple of days, I’ve been employing that one class-term I took of shorthand; David spills it, and I jot it down. And now I get to turn this stack of chicken-scratch, and an elusive, ethereal idea inside my husband’s brain, into a cohesive, inspiring story.
All by this coming Saturday.