A Funeral to Remember

Nov 06, 2011

Though we are in a business that, by its nature, often serves people at the end of their lives, I don’t attend that many funerals.  Today, however, I went to the most amazing funeral.  Mr. William Carter was 87 years old.  He was married to Phyllis Carter for 62 years.  When he was 17, he went to fight for our country in World War II.  He was a left blister gunner on a B-29 bomber that flew 27 successful missions.  He wrote beautiful letters home to the love of his life.  He raised two children, was a partner in a successful CPA practice.  Then his bride got sick.  She was bedbound for more than 15 years.  Every day, Mr. Carter told Phyllis how beautiful she was, and how much he cherished her.  Every day he cared for her, talked to her, read the Bible to her…  until the day she died, on November 3, 2008.  Though I didn’t know him well, he always greeted me warmly when he saw me.  My company had the privilege of caring for his family for more than eight years.  He was truly an inspiration and a model of how to love your spouse.  He was truly in love with his wife, and dedicated to serving her no matter the cost, personally and financially.  Three years to the day, within a few hours of the time, Mr. Carter himself passed.  They said that as he slipped from this life to the next, a single tear of joy escaped his eye.  His family is sure that this was the exact moment that he was reunited with the bride of his youth, perfectly healed, and waiting for him to come home.

After church this morning, I picked up one of my daughters and took her to Dreamland for lunch.  My wife and second daughter were headed to a gymastics meet.  I, on the other hand, had to go to a funeral.  Well, I didn’t have to go.  I felt like I should go, though.  After all, Mr. Carter had been a client for more than eight years.  And he was one of the clients that I really liked, and even admired.  He had served our country, and he was a remarkably loving and faithful husband.  I didn’t want to put on a tie.  I didn’t want to drive to Decatur and spend a good bit of my Sunday afternoon with a group of people I didn’t know.

But Mr. Carter, I am so glad I did.  Even in death, you have blessed me more than you could ever know.  What an example you set for your children, for your grandchildren and your great grandchildren.  And for me!  Thank you for giving your life – for your country, for your family, for your wife.  I wonder what people would say about me today, if this were my last day on earth?  No matter, because thanks to you, I have time to improve it.  Thank you, Mr. Carter.  I look forward to thanking you again in person some day.  Thank you.