Journeys With Jesus

Jill Morikone

is administrative assistant to the president of 3ABN. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.

​Two Funerals

The strains of the violin floated out over the congregation. “Day by day, and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here.” The words to the music played in my mind.

People stepped through the back door and stood a moment, quiet and subdued. They looked toward the picture at the front, nestled among the potted mums. It was one of those colored photographs. A strikingly beautiful young woman in a nurse’s cap from long ago. Greg’s grandma.

Where had the years gone? At best, they were fleeting.

Dad Morikone stepped to the microphone to present the eulogy. Strength and comfort, love and compassion, flowed from the throne of God to touch our hearts.

I glanced over at Grandpa Hamel. How does one cope with loss like that? They’d been married 66 years. How can he carry on?

***

Greg and I climbed out of the car. People stood in little groups around pickup trucks, talking in subdued voices. We stepped toward the door of the small country church and reached out to hug our friends.

“I’m sorry about Sally Jane,”* I said. My friend nodded, and then reached to draw a little girl close. “And this is Sally Jane’s daughter, Julia.”

I looked down. Light-brown hair framed a pretty face. Gorgeous eyes filled with pain. Lord, she’s so little!

My heart felt heavy as we entered the church and climbed the stairs. I signed the guestbook, met the family, and then settled down on the straight, wooden pews to wait for the service to begin.

Sally Jane was so young. Only 37. Oh, Father, why?

My thoughts wandered throughout the service, but then the minister invited people to share memories of Sally Jane. Some spoke eloquently. Others said only a few broken words. All were poignant and heartfelt.

Suddenly, little Julia climbed the couple of steps onto the platform. She stood a moment, struggling to maintain her composure. It was heartbreaking to watch in one so young. We waited, the whole congregation, with bated breath.

“Mommy, I liked it that you took me to the park.” Such a sweet, childish voice. “I liked it when you bought me those coloring books.” The tears were coming now. She stopped to control them. Then, “I love you, Mommy. I miss you.”

Turning, she fled back to her seat. The audience exhaled as sobs broke out throughout the church. Julia’s older brother jumped to his feet and ran from the room. The men cleared their throats.

I glanced over at Julia. How does one cope with loss like that? She was only 6 years old. How can she carry on?

***

We came down the hill at quite a brisk pace, Grandpa and I. I was surprised and put to shame, especially when he asked if we could jog! Grandpa—though in his 90s—was more fit than I.

It had been only a few short months since Grandma had passed away. Grandpa lives every day remembering the good times with Grandma, keeping busy with daily life, and looking forward to the time they’ll be reunited, nevermore to part.

“You know,” he said, “sometimes when I wake up, I wonder if this is the resurrection morning.”

***

Somehow, that’s my answer. Sometime, this great controversy will end. Someday, it will all be over.

Until then I will trust Him no matter what. Until then, I will serve Him without reserve. Until then, I will love Him, now and forever. For He alone is trustworthy. He alone is love.


* The names used in the story about Sally Jane are pseudonyms.

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