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Cribs and Coffins

(ROCKWALL, TX — January 8, 2018) I told someone last week that one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to make your own funeral arrangements!  Some might think that’s rather morbid, but as a Chaplain, I’ve seen many things that revolve around the death of a loved one; the emotion, the feelings, the unresolved things that come out after the strain and the drama of loss.

Having spoken at many services honoring a loved one who has passed from this life to the next, I believe there is much to be learned from the coffin.  Its shape is similar to that of a crib, but with very different expectations.  The crib is full of hopes and dreams.  The coffin often affords regrets that don’t seem to come up when standing over a crib.  I watch the faces of our family members at Broadmoor. Their faces want to reflect encouragement and hope, but when walking away from their loved one, that shadow of regret returns.  It’s a longing that maybe today there will be a look of recognition or the sound of your name. But when the visit is complete, resignation returns…that coffin-look; the look that says, “There are things worse than death.”

Most expect our staff to face each day of care with a face that reflects what a crib might hold.  Caretakers face those same needs of dependency that a new born expresses without the reward of seeing them grow up and out of being so dependent.  Caretakers grieve the loss as do families because they provide that day to day close contact care of feeding and changing that we did during crib days.

We can learn a lot from a coffin.  We can learn to number our days.  We can be reminded to not treasure things that rust or can be stolen.  Coffins remind us that a mansion has already been prepared for us to enjoy all those “things” that have been deposited in heaven…loved ones that have preceded us, those that we have shared faith with who listened and received…and of course that Face that never disappoints…the One that welcomes us from crib to coffin into His Forever Presence.

Hope your plans have been made…coffin plans…after coffin plans.  I can help you with those plans.  No regrets!

By Paula Lively. Paula is a Volunteer Chaplain at Broadmoor Medical Lodge in Rockwall.  She is a VERY retired RN who loves serving the residents at Broadmoor.  She and her husband, Fred, have lived in Rockwall for 15 years.

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