Pam and I woke up Monday morning in a fog. We picked our clothes out in that fog. We got dressed in that fog. And we waited for Pam’s best friend to pick us up in that fog. I’ve read from multiple people in multiple books that none of us knows how to face death because it’s not what we were programed for. We were created and designed NOT to face this: death. It’s not how God designed it to be. We just don’t have to tools built inside of us to know how to face this.
Think of this. When a child is born, no one has to hold that little girl or boy up to the mom or dad and say, “love and care for this new person in your life.” It just happens. It’s one of the few things in life that just happens. When that child comes out: you are captivated and bonded. It’s how God’s designed it. It’s the opposite with death. We look around for people to tell us what to think and feel, only to get offended when that person doesn’t offer the perfect words of comfort. There are no perfect words of comfort. In death they only exist in Jesus’ return.
So it was with that morning, we were all in a fog.
My best friends Tim and Carl who stayed that weekend with woke up quietly, and got dressed quietly. We brought the CDs, the programs that I made for Ben’s guests, and all the things we wanted to put in his casket with him. We got dressed too quickly. We got ready too quickly. And we waited for some of Pam’s closest friend’s Tina and Mary to come to pick us up to get there early ahead of everyone else.
When Tina and Mary came we left for 100 Market St, where Ben’s body was waiting. Pam’s vision is now clear and she is in and out of a whole other kind of consciousness: ready to see her son.
When we got there and saw Ben and his tiny little casket, only 18 inches long, we wept. We just stood there and wept. At 10:45 our friends and family started to arrive, each of them seeing Ben’s soulless body for the first time. We didn’t tell anyone about the funeral, we just opened it up to family and close friends to found out. About 50 people came to see Ben.
There are a few things I’ll never forget before the funeral started:
- Standing with my wife introducing people to our son
- Crying with my father.
- Seeing all the flowers that people sent up, entirely surrounding Ben and the back of the room
- Watching 50 people come who love Ben
- Our closest friends and family
- Tom LoBianco crying with me saying, “this is not the way it’s supposed to be.”
He’s right. It’s just not the way it’s supposed to be. No death is. No matter where you are in life, no matter who dies. Death will always cut deeper than anyone of us knows how to face. It’s just not right.
My next couple of posts will all be words that people spoke at Ben’s funeral. Pam and I planned the funeral for our son: we wanted to honor him in the same way we would have enjoyed him.
We sang one song, played 2 U2 songs, our friend Pastor Brian and my father spoke, my sister read a poem, and we closed with an Italian version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. There are few sacred moments in my life: this is forever one of them. Ben’s funeral was so beautiful and so perfect that it’s transformed into a place of Shalom for me as I continue to try and process his death. I was with my son and my wife, we listened to U2, sang to Jesus, read about Jesus and heaven, and so many of the people I love was in the same room since our wedding. If I could freeze time I would: this is the place I can cry for my son and call out to God for help.
To all of you who came or wanted to come: thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please read what my friends and family said at my son’s funeral. It brings more hope than I can describe.