Last Wednesday was the first time I’d been to the cemetery since my Dad’s funeral. The grave he and Mom share is now marked with a stone engraved on both sides–one for him (Robert Herman Preuss Tech 4 WWII “Devoted Husband and Father”) and the other for her (Jean E. Preuss “Beautiful Wife and Mother”).
Some days when his dementia had a certain grip on him, Dad would ask me “where’s your mother?” And I would say to him, “I don’t know if you want me to say she’s buried at Fort Snelling, or that she’s in heaven with the Lord.” Whenever I said that, it seemed to satisfy him. And I must say, that thought satisfied me the other day.
I felt good about going out to the cemetery, but I don’t know that I’ll go often. While I felt good about “showing my respect” for my Mom and Dad, they also taught me that the way I live is an even better way to show respect for someone who loves me, and who I love.
The truth is, there’s something biblical about thinking that way; that is that we can show our respect for someone by the way we try to live. At its heart, that’s what our being created “in God’s image” is about. That is, we are created to reflect God’s love for us and others and God’s world, and show respect/faith/obedience when as disciples we work at trying to reflect that and live it out.
Even more important with regard to my parents and me, I really do trust that death has not had the last word with them, and that they are raised to new life and are “with the Lord.” And I am blessed to be able to give thanks for that, and what it means for them, for me and Michele, and for the rest of our family, whether I am in the cemetery or not.