An untitled post because I can't even think of a title for this one that does it justice. One that doesn't sound hokey or clique or limited. And so... this is my untitled post.
Thursday Jeff and I traveled to the small town where he grew up for our dear friend Jessica's funeral. It was a great funeral... if funerals can be great. It summed up her life. It was her, in essence. It had a purpose, which was to share who she really was, and to inspire those attending to continue on her legacy; To create their own legacy.
And yes, even at age 27, Jess has a legacy. I wonder if I could say the same thing at 27... or even 37. Jess was truly devoted to her church, to her youth group where she was the youth pastor. She was devoted to her family. She worked with troubled youth. She planned on being a foster parent and to someday adopt. She wanted to be a missionary. Jessica leaves a legacy. And the crux of that legacy is to love others unconditionally, to help where you can help, and to remember those who no one else remembers.
The visitation took 5 and a half hours. There were people waiting in the parking lot, wound around chairs inside the funeral home, waiting for their turn to tell her parents what a difference she had made in their lives and how much she was loved.
The funeral was standing room only, with a live feed of the funeral piped into another building. There were so many flowers, only a portion of them were in the funeral home. The rest resided in the garage of the funeral home.
Jessica's dad told us that Jess often told him, "I just don't feel like I'm making much of a difference. I need to do more." He laughed slightly as he motioned to the crowd ... indicating what we all knew. She had made a difference. A big difference.
At the cemetary, we all took balloons and at the same time said, "We love you Jessica," and let the balloons go. As soon as the balloons took flight all in a clump, I could hear Jess's mom let out a heart breaking cry as if she was losing Jess all over again. It was a cry that I've heard only a few times in my life. It took my breath away. My hand immediately covered my own mouth to prevent such a sound from being uttered. The balloons flew together in the exact direction of the church Jessica loved so much.
The pain that Jessica's parents are feeling is something I wouldn't wish on anyone. I can't even imagine what today brings them, as that sort of pain is one that grows and simmers and grows again. Never completely going away. I don't know how I would be able to go on. I hope and pray that I never will have to know that pain.
After the funeral, Jeff came to me in tears and said, "We have 6 kids. We talk of number 7. The statistics are not on our side that WE won't be those parents some day. What if something happens to one of our children?"
And through my own tears I had to ask him, "Do you think Jessica's parents would have rather not known her just to miss this pain they're in right now? Would it have been better to have not shared in the joy of her life just to avoid this? What about all the people she helped? What about her legacy?"
We all know that our days are numbered. Jessica always wore her seat belt. Jessica had driven that road to church a thousand times and never had a wreck. God called her up that day. I can see now that it was unavoidable.
I am actually a very pragmatic person, one who always questions the why, why, why. Somehow I feel a lot more peaceful now realizing that we will all have a day that God will call us up. Only He knows what day that will be, and I believe that day is already predestined. It's already known to Him.
But we can't hide from loving people just because we might lose them. We should all be renewing relationships, furthering our causes, and loving others unconditionally because that's what matters in the end.