Saturday, November 8, 2014

When a Church Matriarch Lies Dying

I've read enough to know how damaging church matriarchs can be.  Happily, I don't think we have this problem at my church.  We are lucky in that we have enough flexibility so that those of us who want to experiment with ways of doing church can--and we have a more traditional service for those who want that.  We don't have struggles over Altar Guild--I don't think we have an Altar Guild.

Of course, we don't have people polishing the wood, the metals, doing all those things that humans refuse to relinquish.  Future generations may wonder why we allowed the wood to crack, the metals to tarnish.

One of our church matriarchs now lies in the hospital.  She probably will die there.

In some ways, it will be the mercy that death often is for the very old.  Her beloved husband of many decades died in January.  She's been lonely.  She's had declining health.

Some of our long-time church members have been to the hospital, if Facebook posts are any indication.  I have wondered about the protocol.

In the end, I will not go.  I knew the matriarch, and she was always glowingly complimentary to my husband and me.  But our relationship was one of speaking briefly after church. It doesn't feel appropriate to join the grieving family.

Will I go to the funeral?  I will try.  After all, that's what a church family should do.

But it may not be possible.  And if not, I will take comfort in knowing that others will be there to comfort her family and to celebrate her life.


Anonymous said...

You sound hateful of the old lady. Churches have powerful people because the pastor and members of that church allows it.

Looks like you're wanting to assume the power she had.

John Flanagan said...

What is wrong with you? Just go to the funeral, console the grieving, look outside of yourself, be kind. Pray for them. Sometimes you articulate feelings which show a lack of compassion and a hardness of heart cloaked under a veneer of sentimentality. If Christ be in you, empty self, and guard your heart.