Well Done

Before I was ever an author or a lawyer or a wife or a mama, I was a musician. Being a musician is pretty rad most of the time. Unlike algebra or organization or finance charges, music is one of the few things in this world that I get. It’s a language I speak. It’s so much a part of me that I don’t remember not being able to speak it.

There are times where being a musician is difficult though. Times when only music will do to soothe someone’s pain. As a sensitive musician-type, I already feel the feelings but playing music in this grief scenario is heart-wrenching. Not only do you feel the music but you feel all of the emotion wrapped up in the music, the emotions felt by others, those felt by yourself.

I played at a funeral today for a man taken too soon. He was by all accounts a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, uncle. I’ve known this family for several years and was always impressed with the open love he had for his family, especially for his wife. Truly it’s been a beautiful thing to behold-even after 19 years together they still had that spark.

They are a military family and part of my former church family and this is the week that marks a special birthday of sorts for my own family-both Mr. Wonderful’s sobriety birthday and anniversary of when the bottom fell out of our world. So there was a lot going on in my head and my heart during this service.

From my vantage point at the front, all I could see was the family that was left behind. Trying to celebrate his life well-lived while really just barely hanging on. They were alternating between bewilderment and just raw heartbreak. That is a painful thing to stand in the sidelines of, not being able to do anything to help them or ease their pain.

Two years ago this was almost me. I was moments away from having to plan the funeral with military honors for my Mr. Wonderful, from having to raise four kids on my own, from feeling the absolute devastation that one must feel when their partner is just all of the sudden gone.

That terrible day when I nearly lost my partner and best friend was a rebirth of sorts. It gave me two extra years of memories and time that I am so grateful for. Since tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, I suggest we all go and tell our loved ones how much we love them. Squeeze them tight and store away as many good times as we can. Take a note from a man who’s family is feeling a tremendous loss but who will be able to lean on memories of his life well lived: live full of love, laughter and celebration. Have faith. Take each sweet moment as it comes, work through the hard times, and love your family with everything you’ve got.

In memory of Casey Joe Bussett (1975-2015).

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Betty

I’ve discovered I almost can’t have an emotion without writing about it and I’m feeling lots right now. We laid to rest one of the good ones today. The woman who was the matriarch of several generations, community leader and friend to many had a packed house at her funeral.

Stories were told, tears were shed, laughter was heard and music was sung. Everyone was so sad to see her go because she gave joy and food and mischievous smiles and help to everyone she met. But it still felt like a celebration.

That’s what happens when you live 89 years really well. People notice you and want to be around you because of that special thing you have that makes you shine from the inside out.

She was many things to many people. I connected with her because besides being related, she was one of my Grandma’s closest friends and she was an artist. She discovered her talent later in life, proving that late bloomers have their place too.

I had the privilege of painting with her and my Grandma at their little artist retreat. They called themselves the Pal-ettes and every Tuesday they fellowshipped together, shared a meal, talked, laughed and occasionally, painted. What they did for me was inspire: creativity, friendship, thirst for knowledge.

From the apples of her cheeks to her helping hands and giant heart, this lovely lady had a fine celebratory send off today. She is with my Jesus, the one I pray to, cry to, talk with. That blows my mind and makes me smile. She  has found her way home after a job very well done.

  

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015