What do you think of when you hear the word funeral? My Swedish church experience is that it is a sad and final event. Grief, sadness and solemnity. My mother's funeral felt like a business association of humanists; no faith, no faith, nothing more than an impersonal priest who rattled off their lines and impersonal ritual mantra.
On Friday, so I attended a funeral of a dear brother in the church. He had for years suffered from Parkinson's disease and experienced the disease as a monster who had taken over his body. For his missing relatives were mixed with relief that his brother now had it good.
As I wrote in other blog posts, I love Mormon funerals. When I arrived at the chapel, I had with me three roses to lay on the coffin; one red, one white and one gammelrosagul. Although I do not actively spent time with family in private, I experienced Fredrik as a dear brother in the congregation.
The chapel was completely filled with people. I recognized a few people who are no longer active in the church, some people I had never seen before. Each of us was assigned a meeting sheet. What I noticed was a few quotes that stood in the meeting magazine: "There is no such thing as 'can not' " as well as "Should something be done as it should be done properly. "
Fredrik was a handy man and an unbearable optimist. It was evident when the various speakers personally spoke of Fredrik. An elderly man told funny anecdotes about their adventures along with Fredrik. Both were Norwegians so it was good to hear earthly Norwegians and stories about fishing trips. On a fishing trip, Fredrik had gently handed a hand, but still he got in and rubbed so that the gypsum loosened. They both had to get to Tärnaby for Fredrik to get a new plaster, and as the older brother expressed it, everyone in Tärnaby from the doctor to the doctor could gypsum. All the five children of Fredrik were also up and told about his dear father. They talked about his scarred hands used diligently when he had worked as carpenters, they talked about his persistence, his boldness to tell about the gospel and his eternal optimism - his ability to "think outside the box.”
It was a meeting full of memories, smiles and a strong faith. Frederick was now with his parents his daughter who died of sudden infant death and her granddaughter who died in the ninth month. There is no sadness, just missing, but also a great joy that Frederick had met his savior Jesus Christ and that he had a good life.
When the speeches were over and all the great hymns - Yes, I must not forget that our bishop Fabrice played guitar and sang Frank Sinatra's "My Way"At the funeral. That song was Fredrik's special wishes - then the closest family gathered in front of the coffin and held each other. Then we all had to go to the coffin to say goodbye and put our flowers on the coffin. There was such a light, such a joy and such a gratitude throughout the funeral. It felt like a single great revival meeting, where the speakers not only spoke of Fredrik but also testified about God and Jesus Christ and how close we live to our deceased. They are with us, on the other side of the veil. The psalms that were singing were Be upon me every moment, Only one day a moment at a time, and O great God. It was a powerful meeting with the presence of the Spirit, and I am grateful that I could join.
After the funeral, wrote the eldest son in the family this on facebook:
Thanks for all the warmth and participation of this special day when we took leave of our beloved husband, father, relative and friend. We feel a regret, of course, but at the same time a great peace of mind knowing that Fredrik is where he should be now. He has certainly started the new major construction projects in our Father's loving kingdom and welcomes many cherished reunions! Thanks to many special year Dad and all the best - you will be missed!