Paid For

Image Courtesy of Raising Figure Skaters

We had to answer a question in bible study several weeks ago.  The question was; ” Can you think of a time when you should have been grateful but had trouble expressing that gratitude?”  I knew the answer to that question before I even finished reading the question.

I went to the funeral home a couple of days after Ireland died, I needed to see her, and touch her. I also needed to pay for her memorial service.  The bill was large, and thankfully the funeral home agreed to let us pay in installments.  Nothing like having to make payments on a funeral.    I spent some time loving on my girl, and then got to the front desk to write a check.  The gal that was in charge of Ireland’s arrangements saw me getting out my checkbook and told me that the entire cost of the funeral had been taken care of.

I felt all of my wire-thin control slipping, I asked her who had paid the cost.  She told me they wanted to remain anonymous.  I  sat down on the couch in their lobby and cried.  I cried for the baby in the casket, I cried for the tremendous burden that was lifted, I cried for the nightmare that I was living.  I just cried.  When I finally could get a hold on my emotions I got into my car and went home.  I couldn’t for the life of me think of who would pay for a funeral for us.

Several weeks later, I got a phone call that my necklace with Ireland’s hand print was ready for me to pick up.  I went into the funeral home and gave the director my check, as she was writing me out a receipt I glanced at her ledger and I saw a name. I recognized the name, she saw me looking at the receipt book and quickly closed it.  “You weren’t supposed to see that,” she said.  ” I know,” I said; tears spilled over and I took my treasured necklace and left the funeral home.  I wanted to go and thank the person who paid my daughter’s bill, but I couldn’t.  The gratitude that was flowing from my heart couldn’t be shared.

I chose to answer this question in our Bible study discussion.  I told the story of a tiny girl, and a purchase made in her honor.  I also told my group about  who paid for her funeral.  A gift without strings, a gift meant to heal the broken, a quiet whisper of support in the chaos.

Two days later a conversation took place that I will treasure forever. We were working side by side, and after what felt like an eternity I turned to him and said, “Thank you, I know this was supposed to remain anonymous but I just need to tell you how thankful I am for what you did in the middle of Ireland’s death, I know that you paid for her funeral, and I just wanted to say thank you.”  He looked at me as I cried and told me that he loved me, squeezed me tight and we went back to work.

My dad paid for her funeral, it was his name on that receipt book.  I will forever be grateful to a man of few words with a heart as big as the sky.  From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

I love you dad.

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