Wednesday, May 20, 2009


When we first discussed coming to Italy, I hoped I would have the chance to attend an Italian wedding.  I never thought we would have to attend an Italian funeral.  After a long battle with cancer, a dear lady in our church went home to be with Jesus.  As a church, we had prayed for her for months as she battled the effects of her illness; we asked for healing and a miracle, but God chose to ultimately heal her by taking her home.  It was an honor to know her and see the people her life and testimony to God’s faithfulness had touched.  We got the news of her passing after returning from traveling for the past week and a half.  Funerals here in Sicily are very different than in the US; the viewing (or wake) is actually held at the family home not a funeral home.  The body of the person is laid out in the salon of the house for friends and relatives to come and pay their respects and stay to make sure the family is not alone during this time.   We stayed for about 4 hours and when we left there were mainly family members remaining.  It was difficult since normally they hold the wake one night and the burial the next day.  However, Termini was celebrating its Patron saint, so the burial was moved to the day after.   The funeral service was also held at the house rather than the church.  Our pastor conducted the service and Shawn provided the music.  It was hard for both of them, but God gave grace to handle the responsibility.   My heart just ached for the family as they said their good-byes.   Her husband had been her primary caregiver and was overcome with emotion, lack of sleep, and heat exhaustion.   After the service, the funeral employees, came to seal the coffin and take it to the cemetery.  Close to 200 people made the walk from the house to the cemetery behind the hearse.  There was a short Scripture reading before she was laid in the family tomb.  It was a difficult moment for everyone.  DSC04705   We rest in the hope of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, but there is still a void left in the hearts of those who knew her.