Comforting Those Who Mourn
A Message on Family Life
Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted. (Matt. 5:4)
I needed comfort last week while mourning at the funeral of my aunt Helen Jagosz in Caro, a rural city in Michigan’s thumb. Her passing at age 94 was not surprising, but a family member’s death always seems untimely. Yet I thank Yah for this natural event that provides an opportunity to be comforted and to give comfort.
My brother carpooled with me on the nearly two-hour trip to the funeral home. My captive-audience conversation along the way was comforting. We spoke about children, shared concerns about the status of America and noted how well Jeremiah the prophet warns Americans to repent and turn toward Elohim’s Way. For a brother who reads scripture, HalleluYah!
Upon arrival, I was happy to see my mom, dad and two sisters already there. We comforted each other with hugs and kisses. I expressed condolences to my two cousins for the loss of their mother. They live in Kansas and South Carolina. So we seldom
meet. I comforted my 95-year old uncle Ed. He was sad yet stoic, and his strong, two-fisted handshake was just like I remember as a youth. He kindly thanked me for making the trip. I was supposed to comfort him, yet he made me feel better. For family members to comfort in times of mourning, HalleluYah!
The mourners who gathered found ways to comfort each other. A minister opened her eulogy by explaining Helen’s name was of Greek origin (meaning “torch”). He then read from scripture. As I listened to the readings, I saw my mom’s tears. I meditated on Helen’s married name, “Jagosz” (“Yah-gosh”). I could see Yah’s presence in that Polish name. I felt the comfort of our heavenly Father’s mercy, grace and salvation in Yahshuah. To hear a “yod, gimel and shin” was unexpected. I pictured Helen as a torch among the Gentiles. I wondered about the meaning of her Israelite name. For ministers of Yah who read scripture to others, HalleluYah!
The next speaker was a woman from her church. Her verses from The Word brought the mourners more comfort. Later in my personal prayer closet, I was led to read some soothing psalms. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me. (23:4) O’ you are the El of my strength! Why do you cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out your light and your truth! Let them lead me. Let them bring me to your holy hill and to your tabernacles. (43:2-3)
After reading, this kind-hearted woman shared a few Helen stories. She noted Helen drove a car around Caro until well into her 90’s (Ed was the navigator). Much to my cousin’s chagrin and neighborhood concerns Ed assumed this task when Helen’s health declined. Michigan has no age restriction for driving. Since my cousins lived so far away, neighbors took turns driving them on errands. Learning that people do such favors brought me more comfort. For a loving community’s care of neighbors, HalleluYah!
My cousin then gave emotional thanks to those who helped support her parents. My eyes were tearful as she comforted her Caro neighbors. When Ed shared Helen’s legacy (encouraging others to read books) and expressed his heart-felt gratitude to all who came to be with him in memory of Helen, I was sniffling. For expressions of comfort and thanks from family, HalleluYah!
Helen’s younger sister also shared a story about when their ailing mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. She told us that Helen took a sabbatical from work to care for her mom. I now pray my cousin can honor Helen’s legacy by caring for her dad as he mourns and adjusts to the loss of his 65-year partner. For obedience of Yah’s command to honor parents, HalleluYah!
As I reflect on my aunt’s funeral another comforting verse comes to mind. For the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters.
Elohim shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev. 7:17)
Although often read at funerals, Yah’s message is to everyone, not just those mourning a loved one’s loss. While experiencing tough times in life, it’s a comfort to know a tender Elohim wipes away tears. Pain and suffering can be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Yet no matter how much it hurts, it will all end in the next life. This is a promise to hold in our heart. Trust that Yah will dry our tears, give us a compassionate embrace. He can and will do that. We also can do that for our family and friends on any day.
May Yah be with you and His grace with all, Elder Curt