In this garden we call earth, we get to view beauty and splendor: the greenery of vegetation; the soft petals of flowers; the tapestry of a sunset sky; the patterned randomness of the clouds; the awe of the butterfly. Sometimes we get just a glimpse, sometimes a long look at a butterfly, which chances to come into our view. We behold the wonderment and beauty of its patterns and colors. We look in amazement to how delicate the wings are but yet strong enough to flutter the butterfly away. Then, without warning, the butterfly takes flight and leaves our view. We close our eyes and try to capture the image in our mind’s eye. We attempt to catalog the beauty into that space where we keep precious memories.
This is how I feel about the funeral viewing of someone you love. It is your last chance to glimpse the beauty and wonderment of the body that represented someone’s life. I wrote and said the following prayer for the children of my Butterfly. I hope that it brought them comfort. I hope that it will bring comfort to you as well.
Viewing Prayer, Laura A. VerDow Santelli, 10/06/1957 – 2/20/2010
LORD*, we come to You now through Your Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Before us is the body of Your loving daughter, Laura, my Butterfly, Mom – now and always to these beloved children. Her body is here for us to mourn, but we know that her soul is alive and dwelling with You. We are comforted to know that she is no longer suffering, that she is at peace and present in Your Glory.
LORD, I raise these children, Jenn & Chris, up to You. Comfort them through their grief. Like others, they will miss their mother dearly. Their mother was such a large part of their lives. Help them care for each other and see each other through their life struggles. Watch over them. Protect them. Fill their hearts with the knowledge of Your love and that of their mother. Let them know the kind of love that never fades.
The apostles asked Jesus when He would return. He said, “In a little while.” That was over 2,000 years ago. In that light, we are here but a brief time. So, Mom, your wait will be short. Soon, we will be with your loving heart once again.
Thank you, LORD, for blessing these children with such a loving mother. Thank You for placing her in my life. Take care of her and love her. We love her and miss her. Have mercy on us and keep us strong.
In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, we pray these things.
*The original prayer used Jehovah, one of the many names of God.