Hearts lifted above grief

This Week I'll be joining my family at Arlington National Cemetery for my father's military funeral. And with the horse-drawn caisson, military band, firing party, and bugler playing "Taps," I'm sure it will be a deeply moving service. Despite missing my wonderful dad's physical presence, however, I also feel something beyond sadness. I am comforted by the fact that his life is eternal and has never been interrupted for even an instant. More than anything, I am grateful for so many years with my dad and for the lessons of courage and honor—and deep love—he gave to us. An e-mail from a close friend sums up what I think all of us are feeling. He said, "I know your father will serve well at his next posting." Knowing that my dear dad is going on—to his next "posting"—brings me solace rather than grief.

As Richard Bergenheim notes this week, when there has been a loss, sometimes people insist, "I want my friend back ... nothing else can make me happy." That's understandable. And while it's natural to treasure all the joys and ups-and-downs of the times we shared, we can also draw strength and consolation from knowing that the things we loved about a person are never lost. Those who have gone on are continuing to be that same individual we always knew—and are sharing their wonderful qualities wherever they are. The love, humor, fidelity, and all the other traits that we so cherished in them, are still with us—because they originate in God and are everywhere.

October 27, 2003

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