I Blog For Books

17 March 2009

Farewell

The plaintive notes of "Go Rest High" echo in my mind, a reminder of the last time I heard Lynn sing them, nearly eight years ago in this same location. Sharp rifle cracks are startling as they cut the stillness of the late spring afternoon. The barest whisper of breeze rustles hair and pine needles as we stand solemnly in a semi-circle. The bugle mourns, tears fall. (written 15 May 2008)

Wednesday afternoon we lay Uncle Dudley to rest in Circle Hill cemetery. It seems only yesterday that we gathered around granddaddy's casket, paying our respects to the man whose quiet goodness shaped his branch of the Hall clan. It amazes me sometimes to realize that it has been nearly 27 years since we lay grandmother to rest. Grandmother and granddaddy are surely both glad and sad right now. Glad to welcome their son home, but sad that he had to leave his family behind.

His seven surviving siblings will each deal with his passing in their own way. His six surviving children, and their children, all have to come to terms with the loss. The grief process affects everyone differently. Watching the honor guard fold and present the flag, my mind drifted back to June 2007 and saw the flag being folded over daddy's casket. It has been nearly a year, and there are still times when the pain is just as fresh as it was when brand new. I wish I could take that pain from Aunt Carol, Sue, Brian, James, Donna, Woody, and Teddy.

How we deal with grief is very similar to the way that we deal with life, I think. I've come to the realization that facing it head on, even if at times unpleasant, is the best way. I hope that my cousins and aunt have an easier road to travel, knowing that Uncle Dudley is no longer suffering. They can take comfort in knowing that he is once more in the loving arms of his parents.

When we face death, there are many times when the question "Why?" will arise. Stop and remember that years ago, Jesus too asked "Why?" He gave His life so that we may live with Him in eternity, if we but accept and believe. I believe that the sting of death is tempered by the sweetness of knowing that we will be reunited some day. While daddy can't hold his great-granddaughter, I believe that he's watching Sami grow. Uncle Dudley won't be with his children and grandchildren in person, but he will live in their hearts forever.

Jesus, thank you for giving me the gift of eternal life. Touch the hearts of Aunt Carol, Sue, Brian, James, Donna, Woody, and Teddy in their grief. Help Aunt Fay, Uncle Lee, Mama, Uncle Robert, Aunt Mary, Aunt Barbara, and Sissy to deal with the loss of their sibling. One day at a time, one step at a time, lead us home.

Farewell, Uncle Dudley, you'll be missed.
Dudley James Hall: October 31, 1938 - May 11, 2008

"... because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." ~Luke 1:78-79 NIV

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