Monday, August 29, 2005

No More A Stranger Or A Guest, But Like A Child At Home

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words. The service for my brother was a good experience. We sang lots of music, had lots of friends around. One person commented that they had never been to a funeral marked by such joy, but there you are. I think that the tone was set by the two opening texts. First was the opening anthem from the Book of Common prayer, which sets the meaning of the burial rite in the context of Easter resurrection and the promise of life in Jesus. Secondly, was the short piece my mom wrote about my brother. Autism - one of the many health issues that surrounded my brother - is so hard to understand, even the experts don't really get it. Below is what my mom wrote, to help the gathered people understand the life we were remembering.

To a great degree, an autistic person is defined in terms of his disability. John was a lover of routine and predictability, with a phenomenal memory. But he also knew what he liked!

He loved to go out to eat, and had a preferred meal at each restaurant. Years afterwards, he would recall the exact date of almost any event in his life (especially if bringing it up would embarrass one of his sisters). He loved to swim – exactly 30 lengths of the pool, no matter what size the pool was.

He spent several hours each day watching his collection of Sesame Street, Charlie Brown, Veggie Tales and Star Wars videos. Although he couldn’t see to read the boxes, he knew where to find each one in his carefully arranged piles.

Those who remember John in church as a child will recall him standing at the communion rail proclaiming loudly and clearly “No blood!” when the chalice was served. Although he wanted nothing to do with it, he certainly got the point! It’s appropriate that we celebrate his life with a Eucharist.


Mark J. said...


Lorna said...

thanks for sharing this lovely memory

Dia, aka Judy said...

I remember so well those times during a sermon when suddenly from the quiet of the congregation a shout (sometimes an expletive) would come out. Visitors would look puzzled, but we'd all assure them, "It's just John." The "just" here meant that he was a real part of the congregation, a part of our lives.

The funeral was, indeed, lovely. One thing that struck me was how the lay folk of the parish leapt in for ushering and chalice bearing and element bearing to say nothing of the quite expansive reception after. I think that besides honoring John (whom many had not known), it was a way of honoring your mother, always one to step in and do what needs to be done, and you, of course.

peripateticpolarbear said...