Thursday, January 13, 2011


It was the morning of Christmas Eve, while other families are wrapping gifts and scrambling with the hustle and bustle of last minute details. Not this family.

We sat around my dining room table: my parents, Robb's parents, my brother, Robb's brother, my pastor, a precious best friend of mine, and the funeral director.

There were details to discuss: calling hours, funeral plans, cremation or casket, details, details, details.

Details one shouldn't discuss on Christmas Eve. Details one shouldn't discuss at her age of 31.

I needed to read and sign so many things, and my heart and mind were blank. Empty. Yet decisions awaited. Decisions only the widow could make.

The funeral director placed before me a pricing list. (Let's take a moment to acknowledge the uneasy presence of the funeral industry. And yet, I assure you, it is one. And everything has a price. Thankfully, everyone approached me with class and respect. But these were no less services rendered.)

At the top of the page, just in case our timing were different and we were here to 'plan ahead,' there was the option to 'lock in todays pricing.'

'Lock in todays pricing.'

My eyes went straight to the typo. That possessive noun needs an apostrophe. With my pen in hand, I corrected his pricing sheet.

Everyone around the table smiled. Two of them reached for their phones to post a Tweet or Facebook Status about the irony of the moment. Even in my grief, I know grammar.

My brother looked at the gracious funeral director. "I'm sorry, sir. My sister's a writer and editor. She can't help it."

Turns out, on a shaky and uncertain day, there is humor and comfort in the rules of punctuation.

I always suspected that could be true.


thewonderfulhappens said...

I've thought so much about the cruelty of the timing. How you should have been playing Santa, or eating a big dinner, or stuffing when you have little kids, you probably had to do all that anyway, even in the midst of all this.

And no--no one at 31 should ever have to make these plans for her husband. No one.

Kathleen said...

I remember reading that Facebook Status. It brought comfort to those grieving with & for you. It was a little God moment. Tricia is going to be OK. She is hurt and grieving, but she is still Tricia.

Tonya said...

Hi Tricia! I am afraid to leave a comment for fear of having a grammatical error in my post! :) Anyway, I heard your story through another blog friend and have been praying for you and your boys for the past 3 days. My heart goes out to you during this time. I can't say I know how you feel, because I don't. But I do know we share the same Lord and Savior and I pray you cling to Him and let Him carry you through today and the many long days to come.

Your Sister in Christ,

Honeycutt Family said...

I bet that made your husband smile as well.

Annette Gysen said...


When I read your blog, I see myself about 15 years ago now (has it been that long?) when I was a mere 33 and was burying my 35-year-old husband, with my then 4- and 2-year-olds by my side. And, of all things, I share your passion for grammar because I'm an editor. Did I see somewhere in your blog that you're a Cedarville graduate too? Because if so, so am I.

You have a difficult journey ahead, but I can tell you from personal experience that God will travel it with you, leading and carrying you all. And someday you will look back on all of this and see it.

My heart aches for you and your boys, but I'm thankful to see that you have a supportive family. I wouldn't have survived without that. What a blessing they will be to you.

Wired Whimsy said...

Last night I went out on a "sister date" with my little sis who will be 22 next month. She read your story after I posted it on FB the other day. You were all we could seem to talk about at the dinner table. Our hearts are broken for you. There really are no words to describe a love one feels for a complete stranger. You have not left my thoughts since I 1st read your Final Hours post the other day. Your powerful, pain-filled words from that post fill my mind all day. I whisper a prayer upon ever remembrance of you. Praying today is full of little God moments.

Janet said...

I love you!

Terry said...

thirty one is such a tender age to be enduring such sorrow...but such a tender age to be relying on the lord...your heart will never be hard are quite a from terry

erin said...

I want to say that I heard your story (or a similar one) on our local radio station.
It is astounding the peace that God can give in such a situation. And how He gives us humor during the same.
I just finished the book One Minute After You Die by Erwin Lutzer and it's really a lovely scripturally based description of going "beyond the curtain". I would recommend reading it. Very comforting.

Janice said...

Dear Tricia,

You do not know me but I know exactly how you felt and continue to feel at this very hour as I also experienced a lost of a loved one last December 20. My 2 year old son, my only son, went home to the Lord on said date. My husband and I and our families spent Christmas day in a funeral home. As a believer, I know in my mind that God has a plan and a purpose for doing things that our human mind will not be able to comprehend now or even in our lifetime. We just need to trust that we have a good God who is taking care of our loved ones more than we could ever do/give. I know this is hard as I'm struggling to do this every waking hour of my life and I know that it is not because of my strength but that of our Almighty Father's.

I want to thank you for your blogs. You have translated in words the feelings that I underwent during that tragic day of my life. I am not a writer like you but you've inspired me to put into writing my experience...maybe someday soon.



jnet said...

Grammar counts! I proofread my husband's funeral program at least a dozen times. I wonder now if part of that was an effort to make his death more real to me. Later, I had to argue with the grave marker salesman to convince him that "Revelation" doesn't end with an "s".

Elisabeth said...

Lamentations 3:15-24 says, "He has filled me with bitterness;
he has sated me with wormwood. He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”"

I pray that the Lord will fill you with hope as you trust His steadfast love, His mercies that never cease, His new mercy that He will pour out on you every morning, and His great faithfulness.