Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Cousin's Funeral

It's amazing how something as tragic as a funeral leads to the good of bringing family together. It was good to see family members, even under such terrible circumstances.

After the visitation on Tuesday night, I was able to spend a couple hours with my cousin Travis' family. Travis and I have always been really close, even when we don't talk for years, we're still able to reconnect easily. Travis and I are very similar in our temperaments and personalities, which my wife was pointing out as we were talking. But as Travis' wife pointed out, "yet, they're so different." I'm convinced that had Travis and I switched upbringings, he'd be the pastor and I'd probably be the one skeptical of Christians. But I love the guy and I've got a new commitment to keep praying for his family.

I didn't actually get the opportunity to preach, although I'd spent hours working on my message. My aunt decided it would be too hard for the rest of the family to have any family members speaking, which was a very wise decision. First of all, my cousin wasn't very close to my family because of the divorce between his dad and my aunt about a decade ago. Also, the pastor who did speak did an incredible job, he was very pastoral while tying it all to Christ and the resurrection. But I was able to make copies of my sermon and hand it out to some family members. I had really poured my heart into that message, I actually think it's one of the best sermons I've ever written, so I'm glad I was able to serve my family by getting it to them. But the sermon was written for family and there were a lot of non-family members there. Hearing my cousin's friends tell stories about him gave me a perspective in him I'd never had before. To be honest, I was surprised to see so many friends there as I didn't know he has so many relationships.

My cousin Travis didn't come to the funeral and was only at the visitation for a few minutes. He later told me he couldn't handle it because he was so mad at Tad for killing himself. I sensed some anger among my family. We do know that Tad was fighting demons that we don't understand, but it still hurts that he took himself away from those who loved him. When I went by the casket, I didn't know whether I should kick it or hug it. But I did start crying pretty hard, it was the only time I felt much emotion. I can't understand why he'd do this to his friends and family, but again, I don't know the pain he was feeling. Tad's life certainly wasn't wasted, but ending it this way sure did trash his potential.

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