Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

I was standing by the window
On a cold and cloudy day
When I saw the hearse come rolling
To carry my mother away

Will the circle be unbroken
Bye and bye Lord bye and and bye
There's a better home a waiting
In the sky Lord in the sky

I have a funeral tomorrow. The father of a member of my parish died after several years living with Alzheimers disease.

She wrote a eulogy for him and asked that I give it. She wrote with simplicity and eloquence about the gradual diminishing of her strong, silent, athletic father. I wish I could tell you more about it.

"He forgot how to dial the phone. Forgot his apartment number; what floor he lived on; how to use the elevator. On Tuesdays I would take him to bowling with his friends. But he forgot how to bowl; how to tie his shoes; how to take turns."

later....

"He forgot how to walk and get up.....He forgot how to lift his arms. He forgot how to eat with utensils. He forgot to stay awake...He forgot how to swallow....He forgot how to breathe..."

Her dad loved country western and gospel music an asked that this song be played as the recessional tomorrow. I found two sets of words, those more traditional above, and more religious below.

There are loved ones in the glory,
Whose dear forms you often miss.
When you close your earthy story,
Will you join them in their bliss.

Will the circle be unbroken,
By and by Lord by and by,
In a better home-awaiting,
In the sky, Lord, in the sky.

We may forget, but God remembers. God remembers God's promises, sealed in Jesus' death and resurrection. And God remembers us, our names, our faces, hopes, our griefs. God remembers how to feed us and to tie our shoes, God remembers where we live and the way to us.

14 comments:

Grace thing said...

Thank you God, for remembering. For remembering for us when we forget.

Katherine E. said...

Yes, God remembers. That is so powerful.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

johnny cash as a recessional... well why not? sounds like she did write a great piece to share.

it was good to meet you guys as well. i hope we weren't too 'out of it'... it was then i was pretty concerned for HubHC. and for some reason i remembered your wedding photo you posted a while back and when we met i thought "why she doesn't have long hair...where'd that long hair go?"

it was like a blind date no? i was nervous. but it was good... and what a blessing to have musically inclined friends i had no idea the song i'd been humming was in WOV.

P.S. an after-thought said...

My mom is in assisted living. She isn't demented, but there are areas of her thought patterns that previously were strong traits that just aren't there any more. Her sister said, "Her world is getting smaller and smaller." Even without specific disease, the body and the brain just wear out.

David said...

Oh yes, even though we so often forget God, God remembers us.

Pastor David said...

Having had a family member "fade away" from alzheimers, I found this very touching. Thank you. I realyy think the "God is faithful, God remembers" message is one of the most central in all of Scripture - we just wrapped up a study of Revelation, in which I put forth that that is the central message of that often misunderstood book.

Hot cup Lutheran-
Yes, Johnny as recessional. Perfect.

Diane said...

Will the Circle... is really a Carter family standard... that Johnny married into...

thanks for your prayers. We got through it. Encouraging the daughter to do more writing, as this was so poetic and lovely.

FranIAm said...

What a powerful post! Amazing- may he rest in peace.

God does remember... God remembers well.

And I totally love the song, totally love the song.

more cows than people said...

lovely post. i wrote a funeral meditation for someone who died with alzheimers that echoed your "God remembers even when we forget" sentiment. Thanks for reminding me.

more cows than people said...

i think i might post that funeral meditation. thanks again.

Pastor David said...

MCTP,
Please do post it. I for on ewould love to read it.

Songbird said...

I so much love that song and everything you have written here. Thank you.

Marsha said...

Diane, one of the things my dad suffered from was Alzheimer's. While he never got to the very extreme stages with it before he died, it did take him away from us at odd times. I found comfort in that exact thing... knowing that God remembered even when he didn't.

You have an award at my site.

http://justme1947.blogspot.com/

lj said...

Diane, My Dad is fading away before my eyes. Not alzheimers, but body and mind are going day by day. Thank you for this. Some times it is hard for me to remember who he was -- all the great sermons he preached, his generosity and compassion, his strong leadership and stronger opinions. God remembers. Thank you.