Behind the Scenes: Funeral


We buried my father-in-law last week, a man I had met only a handful of times.  It wasn’t due to any family tension or estrangement that I didn’t really know him. It was because he had been incapacitated by mental illness for the past 25 years.  By the time I met and married his son, my father-in-law had been in full-time nursing care for over 6 years.

I snapped this picture when we arrived very early at the cemetery for the service so I guess the Behind the Scenes part is that you can’t see the funeral tent behind me and to my right.  I was struck by the juxtaposition of the gravestones against the corn field against the windmills in the background.  This is Wisconsin – there are corn fields everywhere – but I liked the way this one butted right up against the cemetery.  Yes, people die and are buried, but the ones who are left need to eat, hence the corn.  Life goes on, right there in the face of death.

And speaking of the service, it was conducted by a young female minister from the local Methodist Church who said some things that really struck to the heart of me, so much so that I’m still processing them.  Also during the service she read some loving words put together by my husband, the youngest of three sons, about the legacy of his father.  My man is not a writer by any means, but what he wrote for his father’s funeral was very heartfelt and meaningful and applies to so much of life.  He said that he is choosing to remember the good things, the things his father did right in life, and that whatever else could be said of his dad, he did manage to raise three wonderful sons who are his true legacy.

I hope one day that my three daughters will be able to say that about me.  That they choose to remember me for the good things I did and the things I did right.

And finally, this cemetery figures prominently in the history of my relationship with my husband.  You see, this is not the first time we’ve been here together.   We made a memorable trip here shortly after we met. But that’s a story for another day.  🙂

Today I’m joining up with the rowdy crowd over at for our Behind the Scenes link-up, where we share the stories behind the pictures.

8 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: Funeral

  1. We’ve had to bury my father-in-law also. My kids and I knew him well, although they were so young they only remember the stories we’ve passed down to them. Funerals always bring such a mixture of emotions, but I really love what you said about life and death meeting right there at the wheat field.

  2. I love the beautiful connection you made between life and death. Life does have to go on, and I love how your husband said it…we can choose to remember the good and celebrate the wonderful legacy he left. I’m sorry for your loss…hugs and prayers to you, friend.

  3. My husband and I each had a grandmother to pass away at the same time I was expecting. Mine nanny when I was 9 months along with my son and Mike granny when I was waiting for the arrival of my daugher. So I have always been aware of the cycle of life and the fact that life does go on. I love that your picture captured that so beautifully. So sorry for your loss.

  4. Sounds like there is quite a legacy in the leaving. And I’m guessing from what I’m learning about you that you’ll have a beautiful one too – with your girls. I’m sorry you had to be back here, but am glad that there was comfort to be found. Blessings to you, friend.

  5. So sorry for your family’s loss. We said goodbye to my father a few months ago. I know the separation. (And you totally have me hooked with that closing line. Now I want to know! – But I don’t, because I don’t expect it will be a happy story.)

  6. Sorry for your loss. I’m so glad your husband was able to put words together on remembering the good times with his dad. he is right that he and his brothers are his legacy. Mental illness is so hard. I have a family member with a mental illness that is so difficult. I often feel helpless. And it’s hard especially when you remember how it was before the illness. Thanks for sharing with us!

  7. Friend… I am so sorry for your family’s loss… and to read these beautiful words and be reminded of life and the legacy we leave is a gift to be sure. Thank you for bravely sharing here. You’re in my prayers sweet friend.

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