July 15, 2024

**Do Not Use**

New Director's Dialogue available in ARC Event Library

Change of Minds

By Alfred W. Bates

Jim Blake and his son, Dwight, sat in a restaurant near his home eating breakfast the morning after his wife, Mary, passed away.

Dwight swallowed a sip of his coffee, then set the cup on the table. He looked at Jim, and said, “Dad, I’ve been thinking about Mother’s memorial service. I’d like to speak at her service.”

Lines formed on Jim’s brow. “Dwight, are you sure you want to do that?

“Yes,” he said with confidence.

Jim shook his head. “Son, I’ve spoken in front of several groups in my lifetime, but I couldn’t speak in front of this group of people under these circumstances. I’d end up embarrassing myself and others. My emotions would probably overcome me, and I’d have to stop speaking in the middle of the speech.”

“Dad, I want to do this for Mother.”

“Alright.” Jim tilted his head. “Suit yourself, Dwight, but I think you’ll find it’s going to be harder to speak in this circumstance than you realize. I’ll call Pastor Farnes so he can add you to Mother’s service.”

Thursday morning at 10:30 A.M., Jim, his son Dwight, Pastor Farnes, and a few of Jim and Mary’s friends gathered at Cole’s Funeral Home for Mary’s memorial service.

Dwight turned to his father, “Dad, there aren’t many people here.”

“Yes, your mother and I have only lived here about two years, and we haven’t come to know many people.”

Dwight nodded, then sat silent for a couple of minutes. He turned to his father. “Dad, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve been thinking about me speaking this morning. Don’t think I can do it after all. Maybe the Pastor could read my speech for me.”

“I completely understand, son, but you need to go over there right now, and interrupt him talking with those folks before he begins the service.

“I am.” Dwight raised from his chair and moved over with Pastor Farnes. He spoke to him, then returned to his chair.

He turned to Jim. “Dad, the Pastor agreed to read my speech.”

“That’s good, son. I think you made the right decision.”

Pastor Farnes conducted Mary’s memorial service to include reading Dwight’s personal note about his mother’s love for him and his family, but especially his words of love for her.”

After the service, Jim and Dwight shook hands with all the folks who came forward and expressed their condolences. When they finished shaking hands and thanking people for their support in coming to the service, they moved to the back of the Chapel with the Pastor.

“Pastor Farnes.” Jim offered his hand. “It was a beautiful service. Thank you.”

“Yes.” Dwight agreed as he shook the Pastor’s hand.

“Thank you,” said the Pastor, then he added, “I want to talk to both of you about Grief Share.”

“What’s that?” Dwight asked.

“We have the program at our church, and it provides grief support for anyone who has lost a loved one. It teaches you how to deal with your grief and help you be able to move forward with your life.”

“Sorry. I can’t.” Dwight shook his head. “I have to fly back home in the morning and go to work.”

“Oh,” the Pastor’s eyes widened. “Well, you probably have a church nearby you that has Grief Share.”

“I don’t need Grief Share, but if I change my mind, I could check it out.”

“I understand,” said Pastor Farnes. “Just think about it.” He turned to Jim, and asked, “Would you be willing to meet me at the church on Tuesday evening, Room #101. at 6:20 P.M.? The Grief Share class starts at 6:30 P.M.”

“I’m not ready for that.” Jim slightly shook his head. “It’s too soon.”

“Seriously, Jim, you need Grief Share.” The Pastor laid his hand on Jim’s shoulder. “Believe me, Jim. You need Grief Share, and it’s not too soon.”

Jim lowered his head for several seconds, then looked back at the Pastor. “I still think it’s too soon, but out of respect for you visiting my wife in the hospital all week and giving me moral support, I’ll meet you Tuesday night.”

The Pastor grinned. “Thank you, Jim. You won’t regret your decision.”

The End

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