A different kind of funeral

Requiem for a gangbanger

When George called to ask for help with his grandson’s funeral, I didn’t hesitate. I’d do anything for the man. George is a gentle soul, born with an impulse for counting others first. When he’s not helping his wife shuffle through her daily maze of Alzheimer’s, he’s at the hospital, sitting with hurting people for hours on end. I’ve seen his patience. When the words to match the pain aren’t there, he lets the tool of his trade—a small pectoral cross on his tie—do all the talking. At the nursing home, he serves as a private translator. As the visiting pastor, I move in and about the wheelchairs with bread and cup. George whispers to me as we go: “She can do it. She needs help. He can do it.” I confidently insert a taste of God into the mouths of those who cannot feed themselves, and act as if I know them as well as George does.


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