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A Funeral in Sweet Home – A Personal Reflection

January 27, 2018

I attended a funeral a while ago. No one I knew. A friend of my wife’s family. A disabled woman. Fifty-three years old. In her fifty-fourth year, as we say. Fifty-three orbits round the sun and Lynette was gone. Cremated. A family memory of both loss and some relief.

Lynette left several stuffed animals as part of her legacy. At the funeral we were invited to take one. I chose a pink flopped-eared rabbit that I later gave to my great granddaughter. She was too young for me to explain where it came from but she hugged it and then me.

Lynette also left some poetry as part of her legacy. One of the poems was reprinted on the funeral program. It was called “I am an Eagle.” It spoke to me even though I had never met Lynette.


There’s a place where I go

It’s somewhere no one knows

I feel free and Happy

I’m sitting on top of a tree looking around

knowing I’m free to be me

To be who I wannabe

I can spread my wings

And soar through the sky

I am an Eagle I am Free.


I was touched by those words, especially coming from someone like Lynette. They seemed to me to speak from her inner self, from her secret heart. No rules bound her to write the poem. No church regulation instructed her to refer to God or Jesus. I like to think this must have been pure Lynette.

I feel awkward in most churches. Their opulence bothers me. The history of organized religion’s violence does too. And the enforced belief system disagrees with me. Maybe it troubled Lynnette as well. Hence, the repetitive line about being “free.”

It was a Seventh Day Adventist church and there are plenty of rules and regulations, but Lynette’s poem suggests that she was able to worship whatever she perceived as her God in nature. Her stuffed toys suggest that she loved animals. Perhaps her God was to be found in her love for them.

Her family and others who looked after her once she was diagnosed as disabled were strong SDA worshippers. Some of them spoke and sang at the funeral. One woman said she knew that God would come down to earth to resurrect Lynette and carry her up to her mansion in Heaven. Another said He would make sure Lynette could drive the sports car she had always wanted.

The cynic in me wondered how that was possible. Who built the mansion? How did a sports car get up there? I thought of the people who believe in the Rapture and sell their worldly goods so they can get to Heaven. What would they do with the money in Heaven?

I like to think that Lynette probably didn’t care if she lived in a mansion or drove a sports car. But I realize that the people in her life want to think that. They want to reassure themselves that when their God takes her up to Heaven she will have everlasting life and be eternally happy.

My cynical side appears once again, wondering if they aren’t projecting their own hopes on to Lynette. Her poems seem to say she was happy. The photographs, another part of her legacy, point to a lover of dogs and chickens and babies of all kinds.

Did she really care if she lived in a mansion? Did she really want a sports car? Maybe she did. And maybe she was quite content just to dream about it. Whatever her life was about, as I sat in that church I felt happy that I learned a little about her, this total stranger to me, and that I got to choose her pink flop-eared bunny.

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