I'm leaving town for Joplin today to attend the funeral of my Aunt Joy who passed away on Friday night at 70 years old. And then I'm driving across the state to Tarkio for the burial on Thursday. For a great piece on my Aunt Joy read my sisters post, "Rest In Peace, Aunt Joy." I have to admit, that I have some mixed emotions about the upcoming days.
I'm very sad for my Uncle Alan who has lost his spouse--the love of his life and soul mate. I'm sad for my cousins who have lost their mom and grandma. I can't imagine losing my mom and I've realized over the last couple of weeks how fortunate I am that my mom had me when she was so young. Yeah, I know it sucked for her being 18 years old and having a baby but I'm blessed because I will grow old still having my mom in my life.
I'm sad because I will miss Aunt Joy. She was a truly amazing woman. She was funny, wacky, loving and holy woman. She is one of those people that was a window for us to see Jesus through. She was someone we should model our lives by.
I'm sad because it's a passing of time and I'm losing another part of my childhood. All of my aunts and uncles were a great part of my childhood. They all had impacts on me. I have so many memories of all of them and it saddens me to lose these memories.
I have to admit though, Joy's passing also brings a sense of happiness and---well, a sense of joy to me, if you'll excuse the pun.
First of all, and I'll admit it---I get excited for funerals because the McAdams family does funerals right. We makes funerals a true celebration of life. Yeah, there will be a lot of tears shed over the next few days but I know there will be a lot of laughs too. Funerals are like unexpected family reunions for us and our family reunions are a sight to behold. Granted, we won't be able to sit around the camp fire drinking beer (although my daughter did point out that my mom has a fire pit in her back yard) but we will still have lots of bonding opportunities.
I'm happy because Aunt Joy has ended her pilgrimage and face to face with God now. I'll be honest with you, I don't say this lightly. I'm not one of these people who go to funerals and flippantly say that the dearly departed is now in Heaven. Yeah, we have hope that they are on their way but let's pray for their souls so that they are released from purgatory soon. Certainly, when I die---don't assume I'm in Heaven. Pray for me!!! In fact, I want that etched on my tombstone--"PRAY FOR ME!" I'm pretty sure I'll make it to Heaven eventually, but I may be turning off the lights in purgatory. But Aunt Joy, if she had to spend any time in purgatory, it was for a light dusting not the full blown purification that I will need.
Finally, and this is me being selfish again. Aunt Joy was my son Max's Godmother. He asked the morning after she died--a couple of weeks after seeing his sister, Emma, being confirmed with her Godmother at her side as her sponser, "Does this mean I can't be confirmed??" I told him later on, "Max, this just means that your Godmother is in heaven praying for you." Yeah, I'm happy because I can go to Aunt Joy and ask for her intercessions. I have someone in Heaven praying for Max---and both Max and I need lots of prayers, I tell you what.
Sadness and happiness. Happiness and Sadness. It will be an emotional roller coaster week for me and my family. So, please pray for us. And I'm sure that Joy doesn't need our prayers but she was a humble woman and I'm sure she would be aghast if I was telling people she doesn't need our prayers so please, remember Aunt Joy in your prayers tonight.