Friday, October 22, 2010
Today, I'm performing a funeral service for the husband of a friend that I've never really met.
Heather is our local newspaper reporter. At least, she was when I first "met" her. She did stories in our local area for the St. Charles Herald Guide, and so we became "friends" on facebook.
I followed Heather as she got engaged, picked out a wedding dress, and counted down the days to her wedding. It was sweet.
Afterwards, she posted pictures of the wedding. I was happy for her.
Heather struggled with some physical issues, so from time to time, I would pray for Heather and send her a note of encouragement.
At times when she would struggle, she would talk about how much her husband meant to her. He seemed to be such a great guy, always there for her to pick her up when she was down. I was glad she had him to be strong for her, to help her, and to walk with her in the valleys.
Then last week she was announcing their one year anniversary.
I thought, "Wow, that went by fast!"
Then she posted pictures of preparations she had been making to finally eat her wedding cake topper with her beloved. I thought, that was really neat!
That was last Sunday. Her one year anniversary.
When I got the phone call Monday, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Sean, Heather's husband, had been killed in a tragic automobile accident. I was shocked.
When I got off the phone, tears welled up in my eyes. I thought to myself, "I don't even know this couple, why am I being so emotionally affected?"
I know some people are really negative about facebook and other social media, but over the past couple of years, I've built a different kind of "friendship" with Heather.
Yes, it was a casual acquaintance. And yes, the communication was almost always one way.
But Heather needed a place to remember her husband one more time. And she needed somebody to help her say good-bye.
So, today, here at Life Fellowship, I'll do my best to do just that. In just 30 minutes or so, I'll read the letter Heather wrote for her beloved Sean. And I'll try to keep from crying while I do it.
Say a prayer for Heather, for her family, and for Sean's parents, and his family. They lost someone really special. And in a unique way, I did too.
Oh, and yesterday, Heather posted another picture. A key she's putting into her husband's coat pocket. She wants him to know he's always welcome at the home they shared.
I'm glad Heather's my facebook friend. And I'm glad I have this opportunity to be here for her and her family in real life. I guess that's when social media really "works."
Posted by Paul Burke at 10:50 AM