What is one remarkable thing you've witnessed at a funeral?
Answered by: Shelia Gulledge
In April of his 15th year, my thin but athletic nephew noticed a sore spot on his leg. Since he played team sports, he thought it was a little injury or bruise. After not going away for a month, his mom took him to the doctor and was assured that ice packs and elevation would resolve it. Within a few weeks, it had enlarged, turned color, etc., so they went for a second opinion. After many consults where she insisted more tests are run, found out that it was a rare form of cancer.
Long story short, it was malignant and he was put on hospice care at home. He promised his mom that he would see her on her birthday (Nov 30)… and that was the morning he died - in her arms.
He was a popular student, befriended everyone. He was a youth and peer minister/counselor. He was an athlete - at school and community programs. He had grown up in church and his dad, a pastor. I am not canonizing him, he was just a spectacular human at the dawn of his life.
His funeral was in a large packed church. His schoolmates, churches, friends, family… everyone he had ever known tried to pay their respects. I’ve never seen so many kids/ teens at a funeral before (or since). It was heartbreaking but celebratory in tone as his life was recognized.
Just as the pastors were preparing to make final acknowledgements after the eulogy, a group of teens interrupted the service and asked if they could be baptized… right then, right there! There were teens, some of whom had dubious backgrounds forming a line by the casket. My brother and his wife smiled and nodded to the pastoral staff their approval, so at that moment, the attendants closed and moved the casket to the side and opened the baptismal pool. Two dozen youth were baptized and songs of praise echoed throughout the church. There were tears of sadness and joy that touched everyone inside.