Chapter 19

On the morning of the funeral, I awoke feeling refreshed. Surely only God could do this! The date was Monday, May 21st, 1979. I wrote in my journal that morning, "Dear Lord Jesus, help us in this day I pray. May Your Holy Spirit reach lost souls during Jeff's funeral and may we continue to feel that precious peace that passeth all understanding".

As we left the funeral home and were proceeding towards our church behind the hearse, light raindrops began softly falling. My heart continued to rejoice as I thought -- Jeff never has to see another storm - he is where all is light, peace, and happiness. The funeral service was a blessing to all of us. There was such a lovely spirit of worship for the duration of the service. A dear family friend sang a beautiful song entitled 'We Shall See His Lovely Face'. Jeff's Uncle Don, Jerry's brother, played the organ. Our former pastor and his dear wife had come from well over a hundred miles away, and along with our own pastor and assistant pastor took part in the service. God's presence was very real. At our request, the pastor included an invitation for anyone wishing to accept Christ as their personal Savior. We simply had to request he do so when we recalled Jeff's bedtime talk with me concerning his concern that "not everyone will go to heaven 'cause people have to make a choice and not all of them will decide to go there". The ladies of the church served a lovely luncheon in the basement following the service, and again there were countless opportunities to share Christ and His keeping power. Especially appreciated was the fact that many of Jeff's school teachers were in attendance and stayed on for the luncheon as well.

You might want to ask, even with Christ sustaining me, do I feel the loss in a tremendous way? Of course I do Deeply!! Jeff was, and Jamie is, more precious by far to me than life itself. However, no matter what happens to us, life does go on and so must we. Jamie decided that he'd like to move into Jeff's bedroom and I found this to be a great help. Yes, I still had an empty bedroom upstairs, but I also still have the little boy who slept there. It is so good to walk into Jeff's bedroom at night and still be able to hug a precious little boy who sleeps in that bed.

The day after the funeral, Jeff's body was to be buried at three in the afternoon. The committal service could not take place the same day as the funeral because it was a holiday. The undertaker commented as we stood by the graveside how there was not even one cloud in the sky. As a few of our friends, along with our assistant pastor and my mother gathered with us at the cemetery, I was filled with the assurance that Jeff was not there, but with his Lord. I did not feel his death was a defeat. I couldn't even look down at the spot we had chosen to lay his little body; rather I wanted to look up towards heaven -- I felt so grateful to God that Jeff did not waste away in a hospital bed for months and months many miles from home. That would have been so hard, and we had watched so many parents go through this. I was also very grateful that he never experienced intense pain. And more important, I knew without a shadow of doubt that there would be no more signs of sickness or disfigurement in Jeff's body when we would see him again. Those who have accepted Christ into their hearts and lives have a glorious hope which we can read about in I Thessalonians, Chapter 4, verses 13 to 18.

My mind went back to a circumstance that had taken place on a return trip from Ottawa a few months earlier. The boys and I were discussing how God had once again answered our prayers regarding the weather situation. It had looked very threatening and after we had prayed together, we just sat in the car and watched the black clouds disappear and out popped the sun. There had even been a storm warning in effect that day.

Jeff spoke in a very quiet voice, and said, "Mommy, I was thinking about the story in the Bible about Abraham and Isaac [Genesis, chapter 22]. I'm kind of like Isaac and I guess you and daddy are like Abraham. I think if we're all willing to make a sacrifice, God will answer all our prayers". It amazed me that he would refer to this biblical occurrence in such a way, relating to the fact that he might have to be the sacrifice, and we, as his parents, must be willing for this to take place. Never once did Jeff act bitter over the fact that he was sick. He would make remarks like "Mom, I just don't feel like a regular boy any more", and "If it's a game I'm playing, I think maybe I'm losing", but he never once expressed fear or bitterness about his situation. I may have been older than Jeff in years, but there were so many lessons I learned from my young son.

A couple of weeks prior to Jeff's death he had said to my mother, "Grandma, when I get to heaven, I wish there would be a telephone so I could call and tell you what it's like". Driving home from the cemetery, I commented to mom and Jerry that even if the Lord could give us our son back well and healthy, I wouldn't want that. I knew he was better with the Lord. Jerry agreed but he added, "I have only one request. I sure wish Jeff could make that telephone call he talked about to Grandma". After we'd been home about an hour, a knock came to our front door. There stood a neighbor I didn't know very well. She handed my mother an envelope and simply said, "Tell Joan this is from God". Inside was a beautiful poem dated May 22nd, 1979, 1:30 P M. It read as follows:


If I had the chance to see you again,

I would bring with me my closest, dearest friend

His hand has touched me, no more pain to see,

For His call was gentle, He said, "Come along with Me".

And as I rose up quietly, all pain was left behind,

My strength came back within me,

From the touch of the Man Who is kind.

"Jesus", I whispered, "I love You so."

And as He kissed me upon the cheek,

He said, "This I truly know".

I then took a walk with Jesus down a long, long road,

And as He hung unto my hand, entered peacefulness, no

more heavy load.

Then before my eyes, I saw Heaven's beautiful gate,

As He opened lt to let me in, there were others no

more than eight.

As they gathered around Him, an angel was by their side,

They cried, "Master, we love You".

He smiled at them with pride.

I know Jesus loves me, I'm happy to be here,

Protected by His love, every day and every year,

I wish I could tell you more, but there's so much I

have to see,

Walking along with Jesus, for now I am free.

I will be returning, on that glorious day,

Remember God loves you, I'd tell Him when I'd pray.

I must go now Mother, send brother my love,

Tell Daddy also, for I look down from above.

M. Shalla.

Tears coursed down my cheeks as I read the poem. Jerry came into the kitchen as I was crying, and was concerned to see me upset. I smiled at him through my tears and assured him they were tears of happiness and that I was not unduly distressed. I said, "Honey, you maybe didn't get that telephone call you wanted, but you sure did receive a beautiful telegram instead".

This neighbor who wrote the poem explained to me later that she had her usual devotions around 1:30 that afternoon, and as she did so, she was inspired to pick up her pen and the words of the poem flowed on to the paper. She said, "They weren't my words, it was from God". I recalled Jerry's request being expressed at 3:30 that same day, and again realized how true the scripture is - God really does hear and answers before we even ask. The poem was already down on paper when Jerry had mentioned the longing of his heart.

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This page was created April 21st 1997. It is maintained by Jonathan McMillan and Joan McMillan