Courage and Humour

Today’s post is not about food.

Last week, dear friends buried their only son.

For six years, our world has been full of prayer and hope that he would be cured. His mother would not allow anything but positive thought and energy. We honoured her request.

When the end came, I was overwhelmed by a sense of complete uselessness. There were no actions, no words that could ease our friend’s pain.

His death was deeply mourned and his life was hugely celebrated. His friends and family traveled from all over North America, to be here, to support his family and each other. They shared story after story, cherishing a beloved young man.

It was remarkable to watch his mother and father gently rest their grief, for a few moments, while they enjoyed the memories of their son’s life.

At the wake, his family stood for seven hours to receive hundreds of people who came to pay their respect. We watched as his mother and father graciously thanked every person. I was overwhelmed at how many times there were no words exchanged. A clasp of hands or an embrace was enough.

I dreaded the funeral. My heart was aching for the entire family. I could not begin to understand the depth of their sorrow.

His mother had privately arranged to say a few words, just before the ceremony began. It had not been expected. A collective catch of breath arose from the congregation. As she stood and spoke before her son’s coffin, I watched as my friend eased the heartache of every person in that Cathedral. Her love, for her son, gave her the courage to speak with humour and understanding, and the grace to honour him with faith. Her words lifted the shadow of sadness following each of us and replaced it with the light of a quiet acceptance.

Her words spoke of a son who embraced his life with courage and humour. I know that his courage and humour will be forever present in all who loved him.