On Friday, my children and I went to a funeral. Our very dear friends recently lost their baby at 19 weeks gestation. It was a devastating loss. Before going in for a routine ultrasound there was no indication that there was anything wrong or that the pregnancy was not progressing normally. But the ultrasound revealed that the baby had stopped developing some weeks before and that there was no heartbeat.
Our friends were blessed to be given the privilege of having a funeral for their baby and having him laid to rest in the special section of the Catholic cemetery reserved for infants. The funeral was, of course, a very sad affair in many ways. But, it was also sort of amazing……
That tiny little baby was so very loved and treasured - not only by his parents, his 5 older siblings, and his grandparents who were all a part of the Mass- but also by many, many friends and by Our Church as a whole. The homily was all about how even a life that ends in the womb is a life that is valued and blessed by God. How that precious little one did live his life, short though it was, to the fullest and his life had immeasurable meaning and importance. The baby’s father stood up and shared how deeply he was touched by his late son’s short life and how it changed him and inspired him to be a better husband and father.
Though, I hate that my friends are suffering such a great loss, I loved that the Mass was such a beautifully moving expression of the sanctity of their baby’s life. It reminded me anew how blessed we are to be part of a Church that understands and celebrates the sanctity of ALL life.
And speaking of celebrating life…..
On Sunday, my entire family got together to celebrate my grandmother’s 91st birthday. My beloved grandma got to be in a St. Patrick’s Day parade where she was wished happy birthday over and over by the crowd of parade goers. We had a party for her afterwards with food and family and gifts and fun.
My weekend was an experience of extremes, I guess. Life and death. Joy and sadness. A life ended so soon after it began and a life that has spanned more than 9 decades. But, in a strange way- both the funeral Mass and the birthday party were similar. They were both celebrations of lives that have meaning and value. They were both tributes to people who are greatly loved and cherished. And they both were all about how sacred and precious each and every life really is.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gulfu/4856133666/">Gulfu</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>