This morning my husband and I went to a funeral. I guess I’ve been lucky because I really haven’t been to many funerals. The funeral was for Lyle Pheils. Lyle and his wife Holly moved into the house next door to us a gazillion years ago. I think my kids were probably seven and eight? Somewhere around there. They moved out a few years ago. So, I don’t know, 15 years or so as my neighbors. I think. Holly and I even worked together for awhile, which oddly I had forgotten until just now! Lyle and Holly had six children. Five girls and one boy. Four of the girls are within a couple of years of each other and the youngest two were the same ages as my two.
I would like to talk about my thoughts about my thoughts through the funeral.
The funeral home was in an adjacent city, Bowling Green Ohio. Bowling Green University was having their orientation day and also some sort of giant soccer tournament so driving through this small college town was a little strange. It was a very celebratory atmosphere, while we were not.
The funeral home was very pleasant. We went in through the front doors and into a large reception area where people from the funeral home were waiting to direct us. That was nice. No looking around trying to figure out where to go. We went into the chapel room and the first thing I heard was Hollys laugh. I immediately felt better. Holly has a great laugh. She was standing at the front of the room with some of her kids (all adults now of course) with a crowd around her so we just sat down. I was surreptitiously watching her from my seat. She was comfortable and talking with people and smiling, so I smiled. I think funeral should have laughter, not just tears. It’s such a nice feeling to have so many people gathered in one place for one purpose, to honor someone that is no longer with us. There was a large screen hanging from the ceiling with a slide show going. It was nice to see the pictures. Most of them I’ve seen before, thank you facebook, but some I hadn’t so I enjoyed seeing them.
It was nice to see all of the kids and a whole gaggle of grandkids all in one spot, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen them all together. Well, not all of them were there right then. One lovely daughter was missing. I am actually smiling while I typed that because it was Cindy. She is the youngest daughter, just a few months younger than my daughter and Cindy spent a whole lotta time at my house growing up. I adore Cindy. She was late to the funeral which I think was perfectly fine. It’s that moment that tells you regardless of what has happened, life goes on. Sometimes it gets out of whack and people run late.
The service began with someone who I think may have been the family’s pastor. I liked him. Then the girls got up to speak. Three daughters, and one grand-daughter. I was amazed at their strength at being able to do that. All of them of course crying the whole time,but they told wonderful stories about their Dad, and grandfather. It was, what I think all funerals should be. It was people who loved him telling everyone their memories, and why they loved him. When I die, if there are four people who stand up and and speak that way about me, I must say that I would consider my life well lived. If you have made four people love and respect you as much as these girls did Lyle, then you have done something right.
Much of the Pheils family is a very religious family so next to speak was another pastor or minister. I must say I don’t actually know the difference. He seemed like a nice enough man and said some very nice things about Lyle, but you know, for this heathen, having him get up to talk about psalms, and parables, and prayers, and as long as you’ve found Jesus Christ, was not what this gathering was about. The family made such a wonderful presence of love and family that I really wanted him to stop and talk about them and their family. I could have listened to people praising Lyle for hours. We’ve all got some good Lyle stories.
After he was done the chapel was emptied and everyone walked up to pay their last respects. As Corey and I walked past the family I heard Holly laugh again and I looked over and saw her and the girls laughing through their tears. That’s how you know everyone will be okay.
Corey and I left after that. We did not go to the burial or a luncheon being held afterwards. I was wavering back and forth on that but my sad little radiated digestive system was pretty sure it wasn’t a good idea.
I hope I didn’t say anything that offends anyone too much. I just wanted to try and capture it. It really left me feeling like everything would be okay, and left me with such a nice memory of Lyle.