In 20 years of ministry, I have officiated at quite a few funerals. Very often I would be asked by the family to go with them to the funeral home to help make arrangements. I have listened to the family struggle to find the words to express their memories of their loved one so that the funeral director could put them into the obituary. But in all my years I have never read an obituary like the one written by the family of 79 year-old wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Dolores Aguilar. It appeared in the August 16 and 17, 2008 editions of the Vallejo Times-Herald. Below is a section of that obituary:
“Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter Ruby. She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy …
“Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing. Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself.
“As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again. There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say it here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.”
Each day you live, you are writing your obituary and the message that will be preached at your funeral. In this new year, let us resolve to live in such a way that our family and community will grieve our passing, remember pleasant things about us, and lead God to say to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”