The Funeral (The Worst Day of My Life)

The Funeral (The Worst Day of My Life)

What do you wear to your child’s funeral? I stood there in front of my closet - No…Ezra wouldn’t like this one….no…that’s too dark….no…that’s not dressy enough…ah yes…I think Ezra would have liked this. With the kids still at my in-laws, it made it a little easier to get ready for the worst day of my life.

We pulled into the cemetery to a driveway that was lined with everyone we considered family. We didn’t get out of the car…we couldn’t. So we followed the hurst to the graveside where we were going to tuck in our child for the last time. Every funeral that I have attended has been a mixture of sadness, happiness and legacy. This one was completely different. Other funerals have family and friends that say a few words about the impact that the deceased has had on their lives. What would we say about Ezra? The baby who didn’t even get the chance to take a breath.

A white box stood atop a little hole with a small pile of dirt off to the side. As people gathered around, the pastor began the ceremony. We sat with our two living children right in the front. Tears flowed, noses sniffled, people leaned against each other to stay standing. The kids each laid a rose on the little white box. As we sat there on the chairs, listening to the words of the pastor, my son began to rub my wife’s back and mine. Comforting us as we held him closely beside us. His touch seemingly saying - we’re in this together…we’re in this forever.

Then they lowered him into the earth.

Grief-stricken, tear-stained, we collectively sang the doxology which will forever take on new meaning:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him all creature here below,

Praise Him above ye heavenly host,

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,

Amen.

The gravesite crew came and started to fill the hole that now possessed our baby boy. Nobody moved. I couldn’t take my eyes off the shovel as it filled itself with dirt, pivoted, and removed the dirt out of sight into the hole in the ground. They took the grass that was off to the side and placed it on top of the dirt. With a tamper, they gently patted the grass back in place, tucking our baby boy in for the final time.

We met everyone back at the farm. We pulled up the long driveway and saw our oldest sitting in the grass. We went and sat beside him to make sure he was okay. Yeah, I’m good…I’m just waiting for my friends to come. So we sat with him a while. Finally he said, You guys never listen to me!

Umm…what’s that buddy? What do you mean? we said.

I told you he was going to be a boy! You guys never listen! He said as his lips slowly curled into a proud, big brother smile.

There among family, we sat. We ate. We talked. We felt love that radiated beyond our wildest imagination. All the kids were off running in every direction. No one had to say a word. Without a word, we were held up. Without a word, we were comforted. Without a word, we were wrapped in a love so deep that we didn’t know it existed.

That night we took our two living children home, while our third lay in the ground watching over us. We held those kids tight, kissing them, hugging them, covering them in our tears. Tears of loss, tears of love, and tears of hope. As each child lay in their beds we gently patted the sheets around them, tucking those children in and we sang:

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

Guide me through the starry night

and wake me when the sun shines bright.

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Amen.

Father | Husband | Coach | Speaker | Mediator

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