Ok, I have a confession. I don’t attend funerals. I mean unless Brenda drags me kicking and screaming, I just don’t. I went to a funeral in high school for a classmate and I felt traumatized for life. I’ve been to funerals since then but mostly I will just attend visitation at the funeral home. And I have to say even that gives me anxiety. I feel so awful for the family having to stand there and talk to all of these people when I’m sure they just want to sit on a couch and cry.
But as we all know, funerals are for the living. In the South it’s how we show our respect and love for the deceased and their family. We make food. Order flowers. Always have the perfect black modest dress. And I failed miserably in pretty much every category this past week. I did not make food. I forgot to order flowers. And my closet was devoid of the perfect black dress.
Personally I take Dolly’s stance on church and funeral attire. “Honey God don’t care which church you go to just as long as you show up”. The same for clothes. As long as you’re respectfully covered, come on in. But being raised Baptist it was extremely hard for me to feel comfortable in church in pants. Yes, yes, I know, women have been wearing pants to church for years. I have not. Until now. I had no choice. My long black ‘go-to’ maxi dress has tiny little straps. Which meant I would have to throw on a cardigan to be dressed appropriately. (These are the rules in MY head only people. Just so you know.) It was a hundred degrees outside so I wore the black pants and a loose silk top and sandals. And the earth did not fall off its axis.
Wendy, I know you are chuckling at all of the silly thought I put into this. I also know you had to be pleased with the laughter in the church that day. I’ve been asked by several people, how was the service? My answer? It was perfect. I laughed. I cried. I said amen. There was praying and music. And your son spoke. He was funny and sweet and I just wanted to hug him. I wanted to hug your whole family. They’re feeling a little broken without you honey. Please forgive us. It’s hard to let you go so soon. But they’ll be okay. I promise.
Wendy’s preacher has what I call a ‘booming Baptist voice’. The kind that comes in handy when you’re at a revival or when there’s no mic. The kind that when he gets to the good stuff, his tone shifts so quickly it almost makes you jump in your seat. If you’ve never heard a preacher do that you’re missing out. I grew up in small baptist churches where that sound was frequent. So hearing it again took me back. I listened to every single word he said, sort of mesmerized. And then when he spoke softly of Wendy. Because he knew her. He really knew her. He knew her heart. It was so special.
To the Barham and Webster families, I hope you have felt all the love our community has for you. And for Wendy. You are in our thoughts and our prayers. And you are in our hearts. Always.
Have a beautiful Sunday my friends.
And if you see any of Wendy’s family out and about, be sure and give ’em a hug.
Esoecially her brother, Dean. He just loves that.
One last thing. I need to offer my sincere thanks to every single person who has donated to the gofundme that was set up two years ago. Trust me, you have made a difference in someone’s life. I am SO grateful to you all. And on behalf of Wendy and her family, again, I thank you.