Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary-A Funeral

This week, the Sunday Sermon Summary will be different. It's not going to be a recap of what Ken did his actual "Sunday morning sermon" on, but it will be about the funeral we attended this afternoon....the one that he officiated....the one for a child....the one for Drew's friend....Jayla's funeral.
As I watched my girls run around all afternoon at our Palm Sunday party....hunting eggs, bouncing in bounce houses, playing games....my thoughts were on how Jayla's family was preparing to lay their daughter to rest. They wouldn't have another chance to watch her hunt eggs or bounce in a bounce house or play games. They wouldn't have another chance to thank her for sharing her easter eggs with others or scold her for arguing with her sister. They won't have another Easter, or holiday, or minute with her.....at least not on earth.
As Drew and I hurried out the door to attend Jayla's funeral, she had a piece of paper, envelope and the little stuffed animal that she had hand sewn for Jayla in her hands. She wanted so desperately to take that stuffed animal to Jayla, but I had been told that Jayla was fading fast. I was torn....Do I call and ask them if we can come by? Do I intrude on the little bit of time they have left together? Do I risk completely falling apart in front of these two little girls and Jayla's family? I decided that we wouldn't intrude on their little bit of time together, and I told Drew that she could mail it to her. Jayla died before she got the chance, so today she took it to give to Jayla's mother. While we were driving to the church, she wrote a note and put it along with the stuffed animal in a sealed envelope.
We arrived at the church and took a seat in the back. Slowly a few of Drew's friends, from school and their mothers, came in and sat with us. As the slideshow of Jayla's short life strolled across the screens, I could hear the mighty wind blowing outside. It was calming. Then the funeral began....her family, quite a large family, entered the church and took their seats up front. The songs, that Jayla had chosen herself, were played; and then there was a time set aside for sharing memories of Jayla. Jayla's mom came up first and thanked everyone for coming. She said that us being there showed her how many lives Jayla had touched. After the time of sharing, 2 pastors got up to speak....one of them was Pastor Ken. As he spoke, his words rang so true in my heart, my head, my ears. The first thing he said was, "None of us want to be here. We all prayed that Jayla would be healed, but she wasn't." He spoke of how the loss of a child doesn't seem fair, how it's so very sad for us, but how it's glorious for Jayla. He spoke of Jayla's strength, her faith, and her certainty of where she was going. He spoke about how he baptized her just a few short months ago, right where her coffin now stood. He spoke about how Jayla planned her funeral....she chose the music, the scripture, the colors, everything. He told us that when a person, that is still living, plans their funeral; they have the opportunity to write down messages for their loved ones. He began to read a few of these. The first one was....What do you want your family to remember about you? Jaylas' response was...."Slug bug, no tagbacks!" when he read this, everyone giggled....imagining her smiling down from heaven. As he began to read the next one, Pastor Ken told us that this one was written in her own handwriting; and as he read it....his voice quivered and I heard the deep sadness in his heart....he read, What do you want to say to your mommy? Jayla's response...."Dear Mommy, I love you, You're the best mommy in the whole world!" What do you want to say to your daddy? "Dear Daddy, I love you, You're the best daddy in the whole world!" Then Ken said, this says a lot about Jayla.....and it says that we really want her here playing "slug bug, no tagbacks"; and although she is in the presence of God, we are sad that she is gone. Ken said the tears, the grief, the heartbreak all mean something....it means that Jayla's life was important, she touched us all. He talked about how the pain is so deep, because there was so much joy in the time spent with Jayla. Would we trade the time spent with her, the joy, for the pain? NO, we wouldn't; but it doesn't mean that we won't be sad. It doesn't mean that her family won't always have a piece missing, it means that her life was important; and she touched people.
After the service, Jayla had requested a big celebration, so we were all invited into the part of our church called the Family Life Center. It was decorated beautifully with rose petals, balloons, pictures of Jayla on the tables, candlelight, and a full buffet of food.....complete with a chocolate fountain. We all ate and visited and our children all picked the picture of Jayla that they wanted to take home. Drew anxiously awaited the arrival of Jayla's mother. When she saw her, she walked over to her to give her the envelope....the one with the note and the hand sewn stuffed animal. She handed it to her, said something, then Jayla's mother said something and hugged her. Then Drew walked back over to me with a big smile on her face and said, "She said she would keep it forever in a very special place." I was happy to hear that, and I was also regretting the fact that I didn't take Drew over to Jayla's and let her hand deliver her treasure. As the celebration was coming to an end, we went over to look at some framed pictures of Jayla and her family on the table. Her dad came over and began talking to us. We talked about their trip to Disney World, their joy when they thought she was getting better, their sorrow when they realized she wasn't, the bone marrow transplant, and her impending death. He said something that I am still completely amazed by and always will be completely amazed by.....he said that the entire 2 years that Jayla was sick, she never complained, she never cried, she was not scared....he said she refused pain medication, and she withstood it all with confidence; because she knew where she was going. He said the only time she ever questioned any of this was 3 days before she died....when she asked him....Why do you think this happened to me? He didn't share with us the answer he gave her, but he did say "She's allright!" And that my friends, is the most important thing to remember and to know, Jayla is allright!

1 comment:

Following Him said...

A child loosing a friend at a young age is NEVER easy. I have lost a best friend and 2 aunts to cancer and it NEVER gets easy. Prayers go out to the family and to sweet Drew for understanding!
~Elyse~