I have never attended a funeral of a president or celebrity before, but when my brother Mike passed away two years ago, his funeral rivaled the likes of one. As a member of the Michigan State Court of Appeals, his funeral began with an impressive procession of 6 or 7 rows worth of Judges from all over the State of Michigan. They wore their black judicial robes, the imposing color of which, made me cringe just a bit. I would have preferred they changed into white robes that day, giving the appearance of angels … though, I suspect some of them aren’t. As a marine, Mike’s funeral was concluded with an honorable military gun salute and the folding of the flag, as we stood in silence. We were honoring a great man. But that didn’t matter to me. He was my brother… a good man, a good husband, father, grandfather and friend. I told my children to stop and take it all in… all this fanfare and such. Then I asked them if they knew Uncle Mike was such an important man. They didn’t. I told them to remember that. It was one of the best things about Mike. He didn’t laud his position over anyone. He was Uncle Mike… a good man. T-shirt, khaki shorts, sockless loafers and a smile.
When his best friend and fellow judge, Ed Post, got up to give the eulogy, I knew he would do Mike’s memory justice. What I didn’t know is how he was about to make me laugh… in the face of grief. There, in the middle of the eulogy… in a huge cathedral of the Catholic Church… right in front of several fancy priest hats… Ed Post’s cell phone rang. Most of us stopped breathing, some snickered. We watched as he dug in his pocket at the pulpit. Holding our collective breaths, in dead silence… but for the ringing... of. Ed’s. phone. It echoed in that silent cathedral space. Then, irreverently, he answered it. Apparently, it was Mike on the other end, calling in to see how his funeral was going. Over the next few minutes we heard a delightful one-sided conversation between two friends who knew each other so well, that just one of them could carry on the whole discussion. It was completely believable. We laughed... and cried... and, for just a moment, we felt reconnected to Mike. It was heavenly. As though he really was there... telling us he was alright and in a much better place, cracking jokes just like always.
I don’t know Ed Post well. His daughter was one of our favorite babysitters in college. We are connected loosely as family friends, through weddings, and siblings and such. When I ran across
Ed Post’s photography, I was overwhelmed again. I’m glad my brother had such a good friend. I'm stunned by the way he can see beauty and the way he captures it. Ed shows me glimpses of what I think heaven must be like. The same way he showed me that sad funeral day what heaven might sound like, when we are reunited with familiar voices of our loved ones, rejoicing in laughter and love.
Ed Post’s photograph of a mountain road in the Smoky Mountain National Park inspired the following poem. In its ethereal way, it reminds me of the path I’m on… toward the heaven I can’t wait to see.
|Photography by Ed Post - click Ed Post Photography to see more beauty|
Spark's Lane - Cade's Cove - Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Fall 2011
of the mountains,
In the heart
In the heart
come travel this road...
colored by whispers of prayer.
With no guarantees,
its leading uncertain,
the journey beckons
to come by faith,
Step tenderly then
as God calls
with breaths of thanksgiving
On May 30, 2009, my 63 year old brother passed away from an incurable, relentless, neurological disease called MSA (Multiple System Atrophy). His wife, 7 children, 6 grandchildren, 9 sisters and friends still miss him dearly.