Traverse City Record-Eagle

Rebecca Lindamood: Foodie With Family

July 28, 2007

And life goes on

It has been a very down and up week.

My brother-in-law, Jeremy, lost his dad, Terence Griffen, to cancer last Friday after a pretty lengthy battle. Before going over to the funeral home for calling hours, I had some explaining to do with my kids because they had never been to a wake, let alone an open casket wake, before.

I pulled my eldest, Liam, aside to tell him about what he would find at the funeral home and gauge his reaction before telling his younger brothers. "OK, Liam. You know Uncle Jeremy's dad passed away on Friday," I said. "Well, when people die, often their families hold get-togethers to celebrate the life of the person who passed. We call those wakes. Sometimes at wakes, they have the body lying in an open casket in the room so that people can see them one last time and say goodbye. This is going to be an open casket wake."

At this point I paused and could see his wheels turning. I asked what he thought about the idea. He replied, "It's the dead body, right? But the soul isn't there any more is it?" I nodded. He continued, "So the body is just like a shell, right?"

Again I nodded. Liam didn't say anything for a few seconds. He stroked his smooth chin and looked me right in the eyes. In a moment where I simultaneously saw the child he is and man he will be, he blew me away when he said, "OK. I understand. When the soul gets too big for the body it molts. The shell is left behind and the soul goes to be with God. That's all right then. His soul was just too big to stay. I'll go to the wake."

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