The last funeral I attended was my Grandmother's, which was nearly 4 years ago. I remember at her visitation and funeral that for the first time when mourning a person who was no longer physically with me, I also truly felt that I was celebrating a person's life.
Today I attended the funeral of a person whom I had known for a relatively short period of time. Thomas Glenn Gorgas was a person who attended a book club that was started by some folks at our church. I initially started going to book club because I had made a new year's resolution to read one non-work-related book per month and I figured this was a good way to keep that resolution. Soon, for me, it evolved into one night a month where I could have some mommy-time-out-of-the-house with a fun group of folks to eat good food, enjoy each other's company and discuss books. Tom, his mom and occasionally his sisters joined our group after a while. I came to enjoy Tom's company as well as his insights and suggestions on books.
Tom was born with a neurological defect called Arteriovenous Malformation and last week on Thursday, it took his life. Tom was 26 years old, had earned a degree in creative writing from Knox College and had touched the lives of many. Today at his funeral I mourned that Tom and I would never have another conversation or share another good read. I looked at his family and could not imagine the grief his 2 sisters felt....I have a sibling, I can't imagine if I lost her. I couldn't fathom what his mother must be feeling....I have a little boy, the agony it must be to have to bury your son.
In looking around at the sad faces in the church, the words of the pastor reached me...that Jesus in conquering death, won that battle for us too. I was reminded that Tom, who faced many challenges in his life, no longer felt the pain or discomfort he lived with for so long. I especially liked when it was noted that as families gather in times like these, they can't help but notice that their family has gotten smaller...but what is comforting is to realize that the family waiting for us has gotten larger.
Today I mourned Tom's passing. I tried the best one can to share the grief of his loving family and friends who had known him longer than I. I took comfort in knowing that Tom's struggles are now over, that he now knows eternal peace. I celebrated his life and gave thanks that his path crossed mine albeit for a short period of time. I give thanks for his life and pray for the comfort of his loved ones. I'll never pick up a book-club selection again without warmly remembering Tom Gorgas.
I thank God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3
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