Tuesday, February 13, 2024

🖤 neighbors, a funeral, a mercy meal, and good friends 🖤

 


Happy Tuesday, friends. I thought I'd share a story with you today about neighbors, a funeral, a mercy meal, and good friends that are like family. 


We have lived in our home for twenty years, if you can believe that. We love it here and there were so many things that drew us to our neighborhood: wide streets, old oak trees that are prevalent in the neighborhood, the well kept neighborhood. What we didn't expect, though, and what has turned into one of the greatest blessings of our lives, was our neighbors. There are a few of us left here on our street that are in the 20 (years)+ club, and we are all good friends. The neighbor friends we know the best are the Hansens. At one point it would have been the Dicksons, who lived next door to us for several years, but they have long since moved. Those two families were awarded custody of their nephews, who were right around the ages of our boys, and the rest is history. It was friendship at first sight for all of them! 


Not only do we have these friends, but our boys have these friends. Last Monday was the funeral of our bonus son Alex's sister, so we all made plans to attend; Drew and Noah took the day off from work so that we could all be there for not only him, but also our friends (his aunt and uncle) Val and Lou. (Todd, Graham, and Jonah just took the day off in the family business.) I fought tears the entire duration of the funeral, because the love was felt so strongly in the room where her memorial service was held. It was not an easy funeral, and she died a tragic death, but the presence of the Lord was there with us, and He was honored. I wish I could describe how it felt, the tangible presence of love in the flesh, but that is the only way I can think to describe it. You could sense the deep love we have for one another, as our family/friendship bonds go deep. 


Alex has had so much loss in his young life, first his mom and now his sister. I was so moved seeing all of us (plus an extra) squeezed into one pew at the funeral home, and hearing them sniffle beside me as they also fought tears the entire time. I'm still moved today, as I write this! I love that his best friends were there for him, my boys and his friend Gavin. It's a feeling I won't likely forget anytime soon, and I wanted to share it here. It was a sad and beautiful day, and I want to remember it forever. None of us could seem to leave afterward, and then they invited us to their home afterward, for the mercy meal. We all came home to change, and then we walked down to their house together. 



Did you know the after funeral meal is sometimes called a mercy meal? I read that somewhere a couple of weeks ago, and I think that's such a beautiful way to describe what takes place when someone you love passes. It was a meal provided by family and friends for those who were grieving, and I didn't think we would go, but was so glad that they asked us and that we went. I was able to help my friend in the kitchen with the food preparation. The boys all crowded around their dining room table, and Alex's grandma Flo took our picture. I love it so much! 




I'm so glad she took this, because I wanted to ask for a picture, but it didn't feel appropriate. For her to want to take it, though, was another story. I'm so thankful for this picture because it gives a visual memory with what I felt that day in their home and the entire time we were together. This is the one I tried to sneak before Flo took the one above. 



I could bawl again just looking at this picture. I hated to leave, but I got overheated and started feeling sick to my stomach, so I came home, and the others followed after me shortly, including Alex! They were all leaving together, and I'll tell you how the Lord worked through Jonah that day. They were just sitting there at the table when he suggested they all go and test drive vehicles. I think that's hilarious that he offered that as something to do, but Alex's first love has always been cars, so he was up for going. They spent the whole afternoon together, then when they got home, they all ate dinner here, for old time's sake. I was offended when Alex asked for a drink; there was a day when he would have just rummaged through the refrigerator without giving it a second thought. And we wanted it that way! It was so good having them all here under our roof, even after a sad day. 


I was encouraged for Alex; he is going to have some hard times, of course, but he is going to be okay. My boys will help to make sure of that, as will his sweet girlfriend. She was here too that night! I am still going to ask that you keep him in your prayers as the Lord brings him to your mind. He has had such a hard life with all that he has been through, but he and his family are resilient people. They (his family, not necessarily him) are firm and established in their faith, and that is also my prayer for Alex, just as it is for my own boys. One reason I have this little heart tattoo on the inside of my wrist is to remind me to pray for my people; my prayer is always that they would love the Lord their God with all their hearts, with all their souls, with all their minds, and with all their strength, and that they would love others as they love themselves. I have no doubt that God will always answer this prayer that I pray! The reason I know that is because that is in the Bible; anytime you pray something like that from the Bible over your family, that is God's will and He will always answer according to His will. 


Thanks for reading my thoughts today, friends. Love to all. 


(I am linking up with Joanne today for her Talking About it Tuesday link party.)




14 comments:

  1. That's a lovely post. It's so sad that Alex has had such loss in his young life but funny to hear that he went to test drive cars. It reminded me of my Mum's funeral - after it was over, our good friends asked if we wanted to drive up to the coast to see our old house (we hadn't lived there in 30 years), but it was great to show my husband, daughter, and brother-in-law the place where my family was so happy.

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  2. Glad you wrote about this. I did not know the meal was called that. I think feeding people in their grief is one of the nicest things you can do. I know they were blessed to have you there to help. They will have tough days ahead but I hope you all and their other friends and family will check in on them.

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  3. Thank you, Pamela. My heart breaks for him just thinking about it, but he will persevere, that I know. Especially with his family and friends by his side! That's so neat that you did that after your mom's funeral. What a wonderful memory to cap off a sad day!

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  4. Thank you, Amy! I am glad I'll have it here as well so that I can look back and remember. Some cultures called it something different, a repast, but I love the term "mercy meal". I agree wholeheartedly! I've been on the receiving end of meals being brought to our family so many times that I almost always try to participate when something comes our way. I didn't take anything because it was when we were all sick, but I will still do something for them. I was glad to be there to help out during that time, though.

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  5. Thank you for sharing such a lovely post. Life can be so hard...thankfully though, when we can't handle hard, God is always there to walk with us!

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  6. A sweet post today. Thanks for sharing your heart. I did not know about the mercy meal (or the name for it). Very appropriate. And, yes, we will lift up Alex when the Lord lays him on our hearts!! So glad he has such a strong support system!

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  7. This whole post just warmed my heart. Even though it was a sad occasion, it is just so nice to see a group of friends (who are like family) come together to support each other. You raised them right!

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  8. Thank you, Cathy! You are so right, and I am so thankful for that.

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  9. Jennifer, isn't that such a beautiful thing? And the name of it as well? It's so perfect. Thank you for your prayers for Alex! I appreciate it so very much.

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  10. Thank you, Tanya! That was exactly how the whole day felt to me -- heartwarming. I am always grateful for bright spots of joy in the midst of sorrow, and there are always some to be found when we look for them. I felt like I lived in a dream that day, and I got emotional several times throughout. I have never been so proud of our sons as I was that day, knowing they took time off from work for their best friend who is more like a brother.

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  11. Hello, my friend. What a touching post, raw with emotion. What a blessing you and your boys are to that young man! God works through people, and think how many benefit because of your love.

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  12. What a sweet post during such a hard time. I love that term of mercy meal. I love seeing family come together.

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  13. Thank you, Billie Jo! Those are very kind words. We do love them dearly! We have benefited from their friendship!

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