Lessons From The Grave
By Bernadette A. Moyer
Why does it take death or dying for so many of us to do and say the things we should have said and done so much sooner?
His body was just lowered into the ground. It was a full 21-gun salute and then they handed me that folded American flag, just moments ago that flag draped his coffin. They asked me if I wanted to, “stay for the lowering of the casket?” I immediately said, “Yes.” I didn’t even pause to think about it. All I could think was he would have stayed there, there with me; he would have stayed there to the end. I was staying there, for him, I was staying there to the end.
But when I saw that casket getting lowered in the ground, I lost it with those deep body wrenching sobs those uncontrollable whole body sobs. “This is how it ends, in the dirt.” I thought to myself as the tears just rolled down my face.
And then I felt my father, he had come with his best friend Claude, who was an Allentown City policeman. Together they lifted me up, one on each side from under my arms. My father grabbed me with such force and passion and protection. He was guiding me to the first car; the Undertaker had waiting for me. My feet were barely touching the ground as I clung onto that American flag while dad and Claude directed my every step.
Just across the hilltop I could see my mother with her new husband and without thinking I released myself from my father and Claude’s clutches. It was with determination and pure conviction that I marched straight over to my mother. I said, “I love you Mom. I am sorry for any trouble that I may have ever caused you.” She said, “You were easy, you never asked for anything and I love you too.”
For me, she always seemed so hard to approach. It was difficult to say anything nice and from the heart to her. I was so vulnerable and my heart had just been blown wide open. It was 1983, I was only 23 years old, and I had just buried my husband.
Randy’s death has been the greatest life lesson that I ever learned. It has been said that death is the final teacher, the end, nothing is more final. So why do so many of us wait until someone is dying or death before we say and do what should have been said and done so much sooner.
I pray that this Christmas and in the spirit of Christ, we all choose to mend relationships, to make peace and to lead with love while we still have the chance and before it is too late.
In memory of Randall H. Moyer, Bernie O'Connell and Inez Sophia who now rest with God …