Often before my mother would kiss me good night, she would hug me and say to me “See you in my dreams.”

A sweet phrase I have never forgotten. Even though she is now with the Lord, sometimes I am blessed and do get a chance  to see her in my dreams.  Sometimes I am asleep and sometimes it is when I am fulfilling a dream she had for me.

Yesterday Winters’ column was called “Saying Goodbye To Family Friends.” He usually shares his column with me before it goes to press and then I love to read it Sunday mornings. But this week, well, I just couldn’t do it. I had shed enough tears this week.

I have attended many funerals in my life, but the last several years have been full of them. After mother passed away I had planned to not attend any more for a long time.

Frankly, it was just too hard.  I know others who have made the same vow.  But within months of mom’s memorial service my Maid of Honor’s grandmother died.  How could I not attend?  She needed me so I was there for her.

Then there were several other important funerals, but those I just could not get to.

Then came another, one of my mom and dad’s dearest friends had lost her husband.  Again, I needed to be there.  Sometimes you  know what we have to do and we just do it.

Then daddy passed away just a year and half after mom.  We planned it, but it was it was different than Mother’s  service.  Mother’s friends put together a huge luncheon.  Dear friends and family came from all over.  My longtime friend Debra sang and John’s cousin sang as well.  The church was packed.   That morning we released beautiful purple balloons at her gavesite. It was perfect.

That night I saw her in my dreams and she was smiling.

Daddy’s service was different.  It was the day before Thanksgiving.  While most were planning their turkey dinners and what crystal and china to use, we planned a funeral. Attendance was low, but we expected that.  I served sparkling cider and his favorite candy – licorice and those crazy orange candy peanuts and candy orange slices with cookies.  I made the flower arrangements for the sanctuary and it was all good.  And we bought lots of roses for his casket.  And it was perfect.

So life goes on and as Winters said, we do not have a choice when death comes.

I lost one of my dearest friends, who was my age, in October.  Then we lost another a month ago, just a bit older than Winters and I.  Their lives were a treasure and a gift.

So last week, as Winters wrote in his column and how we attend a double funeral,  I helped with the planning of that as well.

The SONs lost two furry friends within days of each other. The Youngest SON has lost more furry pets than all of us combined.  His eyes filled with tears when I broke the new and frankly, so did mine.  The middle SON tried to hold it together, but grief filled his eyes as well. This time a tiny Robo Dwarf Hamster and one little Gerbil died right before schools started.  We buried them with their running wheel and planted a blue spuce on top and tried to make the service short and sweet.  You can read Winters take on it  here.

The bottom line is this, a funeral is a funeral, whether is it for a loved family pet or a precious family member or friend.  They are still loved ones to us.

Love is love and loss is still loss.

I believe in the last year we have buried six little creatures.  Each night at dinner for the last several years we pray for Mimi and Papa, Anakin, Sparky, Chase,  Maxamilian, and now Taco and Scuttles.  We pray they are having fun in heaven.  I pray the rest stay alive, I can’t take another funeral right now.

But if there is a silver lining, which I always believe there is, it is that for one brief moment in time each of us knew true love.  We experienced friendship, companionship, acceptance, encouragement, being blessed and loved and so much more.  Love is a gift.  Love transcends time and space and can even appear in a dream.

Remember sweet friends, life is short.

Moments come and they go, never to return again.

So on this Monday, be present and celebrate life and yes, we can even celebrate death.  Because for the believer, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”  And in that we can find all kinds of comfort and hope!

Be blessed and encouraged abundantly today as we remember that life is a gift, sweet dreams my friend.