I got the word late last night that the gentleman from the parish who has been dying of cancer passed away yesterday. He lived many years past what the doctors predicted, but of course it is still tough on his wife and kids. They loved and truly admired him.
So today I worked VBS, then met with his wife and three daughters late in the afternoon. It was tough, because it was obvious that there were some HUGE issues going on in between the daughters. The issues were unspoken in our meeting, but hung heavy in the atmosphere, in the looks, the sighs, the body language, everything. The youngest daughter has taken the reigns in the decision making, the middle daughter is trying to keep everybody happy, and the oldest is frustrated and resentful over it all. And the wife is staying out of it, just trying to survive in her grief. They would have been married 43 years tomorrow. I tried to make sure everyone was heard, and that I connected with all four, but it was a struggle.
So we'll finish with VBS on Friday, cancelling the VBS potluck & program for Friday night, since the family prayer service will be then. The funeral will be Saturday morning, which should give us enough time to clean up after the Bible school stuff and get the church ready.
So how to encourage family reconciliation and bonding, honor this man's memory, and proclaim the Gospel, in the short bit of time I get with them all together? I have some praying and pondering to do in the midst of chasing after kids this week.