Saturday, February 21, 2009

Until death do us part

Last Thursday evening, before the barbeque ribs, steak, salad and dessert during a small family gathering for my birthday, I went to a funeral rosary for a man our family knew about 50 years ago. His family and our family were neighbors and friends until we lost contact with them when we moved to a different city in 1960.

Eduardo “Lalo” Aguirre was called home to God last Saturday at the age of 92 years. I learned of his passing during my morning internet read of the obituaries, one of my middle-age man daily rituals that I wrote about here: Reading the obits

Upon reading of his passing, I had a strong feeling that I needed to attend the rosary. My Mom accompanied me. Mr. Aguirre had two sons that I remember, one of whom was a neighborhood play friend. As is often the case when attending funerals, I did so out of respect but also to satisfy my own curiosity. Would I recognize Mr. Aguirre as he rest in peace in his open casket, or his wife and two sons? Would they recognize my Mom and me and have the memories of my family that we had of them?

As we prayed the Holy Rosary, I learned that Mr. Aguirre was a man who believed in God and his Catholic faith as the rosary is definitely a Catholic form of prayer. Afterwards, various acquaintances and family members gave brief accounts of their memory of Mr. Aguirre, followed by a short video presentation of photos of him at various stages of his long life. There were many clues of what he valued the most: his faith, his family and his moustache. Other than the old black and white photos of him as a young boy, every other photo showed a proud family man with an ever-present and groomed moustache. At the end of the service, I approached his open casket to pay my final respects and noticed his groomed white moustache as he lay ever so peaceful in eternal rest.

Another reason I like to attend funerals is the stark reminders they give that life is precious and our time on earth is limited. Our earthly presence is at the pleasure of God and despite all that we do for our fitness and health, we’ll all get our turn to depart just like Mr. Aguirre. Funerals give me an opportunity to be reminded of those things that really matter the most; it’s not the money we make, the economic wealth we amass, the big shots we know or the places we’ve traveled. It’s much simpler than that as I was reminded by Mr. Aguirre, discovering what both he did and I do value the most - our faith, our family and our moustache – until death do us part.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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