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Secure in the Promise

Secure in the Promise

 by Julie A. Kanarr

After Ed died, his grandchildren went to all four fields on his farm to fill buckets with dirt. When his casket was lowered into the grave, they covered it with a layer of the earth they had collected, honoring his wish to be buried in his own soil.

After Gladys died, her sons spent a day digging her grave in the sandy soil of the old pioneer cemetery. Old friends came by to visit and share stories. Although it had been exhausting, they said it was the best thing they had ever done.

After Bob died, his daughters found a file folder in his desk marked “funeral.” It was filled with Sunday bulletins, some with arrows pointing to Scripture readings, others with hymns circled and the notation, “good for funeral.”

After Irene died, her niece brought me her Bible. Together, we paged through it, looking for well-worn pages and passages she had underlined. Her nephews read from her Bible during her funeral.

After Roger died, his widow looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Pastor, I don’t even know where to start.” I assured her that she had already begun; the tearful phone call to her pastor was a good first step.

Funeral planning is a sensitive topic. It can be painful, especially when grief is fresh or death is imminent. The details can be overwhelming and the choices bewilder- ing, particularly for those facing them for the first time or those caught by surprise by an unexpected death. Care-filled arrangements can help survivors better navigate the difficult path of grief and loss.

The Rev. Julie A. Kanarr serves as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Belfair, Wash.

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