It was the day of the funeral. I woke up feeling angry at what I was about to do. When we visited her family home over the weekend to offer our condolences, they asked if I would be able to attend the funeral on Wednesday. I said no, because I did not know if I would be able to get out of work. I had made peace with not being able to attend the funeral.
On Monday, I received a call from my sister informing me of how the memorial service went.
She tried once more to find out if I would be able to attend the funeral. I told her again that I might not be able to.
On Tuesday, I tried to get her on the phone but she was in a meeting. I had a sense she was upset with me and sent her a message to apologise for not attending the memorial service or funeral.
Her response to the message confirmed the anger and disappointment about my decision.
At that moment I decided to ask for permission to attend the funeral. I promised to be back in the afternoon and my request was granted.
As I arrived on Wednesday morning, I was the first one from my family to arrive. I was greeted warmly and gave her mother a hug. I sat on the sofa and saw her coffin on my right hand side.
Her niece gave me a poster to put at the back of my car in remembrance of her.
The pastor arrived a few minutes later and began the proceeding of viewing the body. A worship song broke out from the room and the pastor said a prayer.
I stood in front of her coffin and looked at her for the last time. I couldn’t believe she was gone.
They arrived shortly after, carried the coffin to the car which would take her to church.
The significance of the moment had not hit me yet.
I could hear the praise and worship team singing a song as we arrived at the church.
My sister, a long time friend of hers stood up to bid farewell to her friend
” We have always said that we will be friends for life and the only way it would end is through death. My friend, this has happened. You were always by my side even when I caused an accident that almost took our lives, years ago. I was stupid and reckless. Your family forgave and accepted me into their home after the accident. I was never rejected by you. I thank you for that.
Her and her sibling helped me raise my sisters after our mother passed away in 1995. They were sisterly figures and had the opportunity to see them grow up to be the woman they are today. When my sister got married in 2015, with tears in her eyes, she said this was her proudest moment.
In the last couple of months she confessed and made peace with herself and her family. She always encouraged me to make peace with my sisters. I confess today that I treated them badly. I am ready to make peace.”
I cried as I heard the words of peace and forgiveness coming out of my sister’s mouth. This was what I’ve always wanted and prayed to God about.
The significance of the moment clicked. There was a reason I needed to be at the funeral, not only to say goodbye to her but to witness a new beginning.
She did that for us. God used her, in her final days on earth to be a messenger of peace to those closest to her. I thank God for this moment. I thank her for leading by example.
As we drove out of church, I looked at the clouds. I accepted that she was at peace. I was grateful to say goodbye to her. She is no longer with us on earth, but I am comforted to know we have an angel watching over us.